Yellowstone National Park is now offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever was responsible for shooting a wolf on the north side of the park near Gardiner in April.
National Park Service law enforcement believes the incident happened sometime between April 10 at 1 a.m. and April 11 at 2 p.m.
Hikers discovered the wolf on April 11, inside Yellowstone National Park near Gardiner, Montana. Park staff responded and due to the severity of the injuries, euthanized the wolf.
The wolf was sent to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Oregon, for a necropsy.
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.
A reward of $5,000 was initially offered, but YNP superintendent Dan Wenk says that Yellowstone Forever has contributed to increase the reward.
Wenk said in a press release, “Due to a tremendous desire by groups and individuals to donate for this reward, the park has established a Yellowstone Resource Rewards Fund through our charitable partner, Yellowstone Forever. Up to $25,000 from this Fund will pay for the reward in this case if there is a conviction. Any money leftover will be held for future resource violation cases in the park.”
Anyone with information that could help with the investigation is asked to contact the National Park Service Investigative Services Branch (ISB). Tips can be confidential.