A well-known Yellowstone National Park wolf was shot in April, according to preliminary results from a necropsy, prompting authorities to ask the public for any information that would lead to the shooter and offering a $5,000 reward.
Hikers discovered the wounded wolf on April 11 inside Yellowstone National Park near Gardiner. Park staff euthanized the animal due to the severity of its injuries. The wolf's body was sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Oregon, for a necropsy.
National Park Service law enforcement believes the wolf was shot while on the north side of the park, near Gardiner, or near the Old Yellowstone Trail, which is in the park on the northern boundary. The incident likely occurred sometime between April 10 at 1 a.m. and April 11 at 2 p.m.
“Due to the serious nature of this incident, a reward of up to $5,000 is offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual(s) responsible for this criminal act,” said Dan Wenk, Yellowstone National Park superintendent, in a press release.
It is the first time a wolf has been shot in the park in at least 10 years, as far as park officials are aware, said Morgan Warthin, a public affairs specialist with the park.
Anyone with information about the incident that could help with the investigation is being asked to contact the National Park Service Investigative Services Branch at 888-653-0009 or text 202-379-4761. Information can also be provided online at www.nps.gov/isb and click "Submit a Tip," by email to email@example.com, via Facebook @InvestigativeServicesNPS or Twitter @SpecialAgentNPS
Tips will remain confidential.
The alpha female wolf from the Canyon pack was one of three known white wolves in the park. She lived 12 years, twice the age of an average wolf in the park, and had a broad range that extended from Hayden Valley to the Firehole River area to the northern portion of the park.
As the alpha female for more than nine years with the same alpha male, she birthed at least 20 pups, 14 of which lived to be yearlings. She was one of the most recognizable wolves in the park and sought after by visitors to view and photograph.