Alpha female wolf

An alpha female wolf from the Canyon pack is seen in this April 2016 file photo.

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A Yellowstone National Park wolf that was found severely injured last month near Gardiner was shot before it was found, according to a park press release.

Yellowstone said in the release, sent late Thursday afternoon, that preliminary necropsy results showed that the animal was shot. Park law enforcement believe it was shot on the north side of the park, but they aren’t sure whether the shooting happened within the park boundary or not.

The incident is under investigation, and the park is asking anyone with information about the shooting to contact the National Park Service Investigative Services Branch.

Park superintendent Dan Wenk said in the release that the park is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the “arrest and conviction of the individual(s) responsible for this criminal act.”

The wolf was found by hikers on April 11 inside the park near Gardiner. Park staff responded and found the wolf severely injured. They euthanized it.

The release said the wolf was likely illegally shot sometime between 1 a.m. on April 10 and 2 p.m. on April 11 somewhere in the Gardiner basin area.

The wolf was one of three known white wolves in Yellowstone, and it was the alpha female of the Canyon Pack. It lived to be 12 years old, twice the average age. Its home range included the Hayden Valley, the northern part of the park and the Firehole River area.

Over nine years with the pack’s alpha male, the wolf had at least 20 pups. It was also popular with visitors and wildlife photographers.

Members of the public can provide information about the incident both via phone and online in the following ways:

n the ISB tip line 888-653-0009

n texts to 202-379-4761

n online at

n emails to

n Facebook messages to @InvestigativeServicesNPS and Twitter messages to @SpecialAgentNPS

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Michael Wright can be reached at or at 582-2638. Follow him on Twitter @mj_wright1.

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