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.
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.