(with information Yellowstone National Park)
Yellowstone National Park and several conservation groups are offering a substantial reward for information on the shooting of a rare white wolf inside the park last month.
The Canyon Pack alpha female wolf was found severely injured by hikers April 11 inside Yellowstone National Park near Gardiner, Montana. The animal’s wounds were so severed that she was euthanized.
The dead wolf was sent to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Oregon for a necropsy. In a press release, the park said that preliminary results showed that she suffered from a gunshot wound.
National Park Service law enforcement believes the wolf was shot on the north side of the park, near Gardiner, or near the Old Yellowstone Trail which is located 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 Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk.
The Associated Press reports that the reward for information leading to whoever shot a rare wolf found rose by $5,000 after the Montana group Wolves of the Rockies followed up with its own reward.
The group’s president Marc Cook told the AP that he believed the wolf's killer was someone angry about the reintroduction of wolves to the park more than two decades ago.
"People take matters into their own hands and feel they are above the law and they kind of flaunt that fact that they can do what they want to do and there's no repercussions," Cook said.
The Center for Biological Diversity sent a release from its Victor office announcing it is offering its own $5,000 reward for information as well.
“We sure hope they catch the despicable killer of this wolf,” said Andrea Santarsiere, a senior attorney at the center. “Shooting this wolf in Yellowstone National Park, an area that should be a safe haven for wildlife, is not only illegal but repulsive.”
The center’s reward, along rewards from groups like Heart of the Wild Yellowstone and a Go Fund Me account, has pushed the total reward to over $24,000 and climbing.
It is currently legal to kill wolves in much of Wyoming, as it is in Montana and Idaho. However, it remains illegal to kill wolves in Yellowstone, Grand Teton or other national parks.
The park wrote that the wolf was one of three known white wolves in the park. She lived to 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 over nine years with the same alpha male, she had at least 20 pups, 14 of which lived to be yearlings. She was one of the most recognizable wolves and sought after by visitors to view and photograph.
“Sadly, this poaching incident reflects what a growing body of research is making more and more clear — allowing extensive hunting of wolves has not increased social tolerance for them, as states have predicted,” said Santarsiere. “Instead we’re seeing evidence that state-supported hunts of big carnivores actually devalue them among a certain segment of the population, and in fact likely trigger an increase in illegal killings.”
The Park Service is encouraging anyone with information about this incident to contact the National Park Service Investigative Services Branch (ISB). Information on those providing tips will be kept confidential.
Call the ISB Tip Line 888-653-0009
Text to 202-379-4761
Online www.nps.gov/isb and click "Submit a Tip"
Message via Facebook @InvestigativeServicesNPS or Twitter @SpecialAgentNPS.