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Vandals Strike Operation Migration Hangar


December 2, 2009 — A recent burglary and vandalism discovered at Operation Migration’s hangar on the Necedah, Wisconsin, Airport has perplexed members of the organization and its many followers around the world. The incident occurred the week before Thanksgiving at which time the team members were well into their southward journey with experimental light-sport aircraft leading a group of 20 juvenile whooping cranes to their wintering grounds in Florida.

According to the Juneau County Sheriff’s Department, it’s still early in the investigation, which was first reported on November 20. No suspects have been identified. Several items were reported stolen, but much more harmful was the vandalism, which included the mindless slashing of four E-LSA wings which alone will cost $20,000 to replace. Staff-owned vehicles stored inside were damaged, along with many other personal possessions.

In a blog posting, Operation Migration co-founder Joe Duff wrote, “The things destroyed were worth far more than the things stolen.” One of the staff members who “lives with the endangered birds all year,” lost all of his belongings.

“His entire life is spent on the road so he uses the hangar to store all of the belongings the rest of us would leave at home. Most of them are now gone or destroyed in some distorted expression of violence that we simply cannot understand,” Duff wrote.

Although the group obtained insurance this year for the aircraft used to lead the cranes to Florida, the hangar and its contents unfortunately are not insured. An area on the website has been set up for those wishing to make a donation, plus one of the volunteer pilots has issued a challenge-matching grant. To participate, click here.

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