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Report: Well-known wolf found wounded near Gardiner was shot

This wolf — the alpha female of Yellowstone National Park’s Canyon Pack — was killed in April. Park Service officials announced Thursday that the wolf was shot. This photograph of the rare white wolf was taken by Cody photographer Steve Torrey in April 2009, not far from the Norris-Mammoth Road. This wolf — the alpha female of Yellowstone National Park’s Canyon Pack — was killed in April. Park Service officials announced Thursday that the wolf was shot. This photograph of the rare white wolf was taken by Cody photographer Steve Torrey in April 2009, not far from the Norris-Mammoth Road. Photo courtesy Steve Torrey

Preliminary results from a necropsy show that a well-known white wolf was shot in the area of Gardiner, Montana, last month, Yellowstone National Park officials said late Thursday.

As a result of the gunshot, the wolf had to be euthanized by Yellowstone staff.

“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,” Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk said in a statement.

National Park Service law enforcement officials believe the wolf was shot on the on the north side of the park, near Gardiner, or near the Old Yellowstone Trail. The trail is located in Yellowstone on the park’s northern boundary. The Park Service believes the incident most likely occurred sometime between 1 a.m. on April 10 and 2 p.m. on April 11.

Hikers discovered the injured wolf inside the park and reported it to Yellowstone officials later on April 11. Responding park staff euthanized the animal because of how severely she was injured.

This wolf was one of three white wolves known to live in the park. She lived to 12 years — twice the age of an average wolf in Yellowstone — and had a broad range that extended from Hayden Valley to the Firehole River area to the northern portion of the park, officials say. She was the alpha female for over nine years with the same alpha male. She gave birth to least 20 pups and 14 of them lived to be yearlings. Park officials say she was one of the most recognizable wolves and sought after by visitors to view and photograph.

Anyone with information about the shooting or that could otherwise help with the investigation is asked to contact the National Park Service Investigative Services Branch (ISB). Tips will be treated as confidential.

You can call the ISB Tip Line at 888-653-0009, text 202-379-4761, visit www.nps.gov/isb and click “Submit a Tip,” email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., message @InvestigativeServicesNPS on Facebook or direct message @SpecialAgentNPS on Twitter.

The necropsy of the deceased wolf was conducted by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Oregon.

The Park Service said it will provide more information about the investigation when it becomes available.

1 comment

  • posted by Dusty seybert

    May 12, 2017 7:30 am

    I have seen people's carelessness over the years in our woods..5 elk once..teeth was the goal we believed. Bull elk once on Helena..again..teeth. Not sure why white wolf was shot an left to suffer her injuries
    Just seems to me that people's are what's messed up..either for the good of the wild or for the good of the people's
    Doesn't seem to make much change other than ignorance seem to be escalating

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