According to the National Park Service, a famous and popular alpha female White Wolf was illegally shot at some stage between April 10 and April 11. The injured wolf was found on the north side of Yellowstone National Park, close to Gardiner, Montana. A reward of $10,000 is on offer to anyone who can supply information about the incident.

$10,000 up for grabs to anyone who can help identify the shooter

Dan Wenk, the superintendent of Yellowstone National Park, said in a statement that due to the serious nature of this shooting incident, they were offering a reward of $5,000 for information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for this criminal act.

According to a report by ABC 7 Eyewitness News, that reward has now been doubled, after Wolves of the Rockies – a Montana group – added its own $5,000 reward on Friday.

While it is unsure exactly when the white wolf was shot, the severely injured animal was discovered by hikers on April 11 at 2 p.m. The previous sighting of the female white wolf was at 1 a.m. on April 10.

The animal was so badly injured in the shooting, park officials had to euthanize the rare white wolf. After euthanizing her, park officials said preliminary necropsy tests show that the 12-year-old animal was shot. Authorities are now urging anyone who might have information about the shooting to come forward to hopefully lead to the arrest of the shooter.

The female white wolf was well known in the park

As reported by CBS Philly, park officials said in a press statement that the alpha female was one of only three known white wolves in Yellowstone and that she had been around twice as long as other, average wolves in the park. The statement said the wolf had been the alpha female, with the same alpha male mate, for more than nine years.

The wolf had given birth to a minimum of 20 wolf pups, of which 14 survived to be yearlings. The statement added that the white wolf was one of the most recognizable wolves in Yellowstone National Park and was much sought after by both visitors and photographers.

Marc Cooke, president of Wolves of the Rockies, said he suspects that opponents of the presence of wolves in Yellowstone are likely responsible for the alpha females’ death.

He said many ranchers and hunting outfitters in the area have complained about wolves since they were reintroduced to Yellowstone over 20 years ago. Opponents state that the wolves sometimes prey on cattle and big-game animals.

Hunting of wolves illegal in Yellowstone National Park

As noted by Newsweek, Erin Edge of Defenders of Wildlife said that while guns are permitted in the park, they cannot be used and the shooting of wildlife is strictly forbidden. While it is reportedly legal to shoot wolves with the correct permit in Montana during the hunting season from September to April, this does not apply in Yellowstone National Park territory.