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Email: mail@timberwolfinformation.org

MT: Investigators still looking into wolf shooting in Yellowstone

By Michael Wright
Chronicle Staff Writer

Investigators are still looking into the shooting of a Yellowstone wolf earlier this year, and park officials this week renewed their call for tips.

Yellowstone National Park posted a video to its Facebook page Thursday of biologist Doug Smith talking about the white wolf, which was the alpha female of the Canyon Pack. The post said investigators are still looking for information about its shooting.

Jonathan Shafer, a spokesman for the park, confirmed that the Investigative Services Bureau is still investigating the shooting, but couldn’t offer any further detail.

In April, hikers found the white wolf severely injured inside the park near Gardiner. Park staff later euthanized the wolf. A necropsy later showed it had been shot.

One of only three known white wolves in the park, the top female of the Canyon Pack had become quite popular among wildlife viewers and photographers.

Smith said in the video that the animal was remarkable for a number of reasons. It was born in the middle of the park. Its home range in adulthood stretched from the Hayden Valley to the Firehole River and up into the Northern Range.

It mated with a male from the Mollie’s Pack and they remained a pair for nine years, the longest-known pairing in North America. Over that time, they had more than 20 pups, 14 of which lived to be yearlings.

“That’s fairly unusual, way above the average for Yellowstone wolves,” Smith said in the video.

The white female lived to be 12, which is more than double the average age for Yellowstone’s wolves. Smith said that as it got older, the animal used road corridors more often and was more comfortable around people because it learned that “people weren’t dangerous.” Park staff even had to chase it away from people at times.

“You could get a close look at her,” Smith said. “She wouldn’t flee or run away like other wolves.”

A $25,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the prosecution of whoever shot the wolf. The reward will come entirely from private donations. Yellowstone Forever also set up a donation page where people can add more money to the fund.

Confidential tips can be offered in the following ways:

■ Calling the Investigative Services Bureau tip line 888-653-0009

■ Texting 202-379-4761

■ Online at nps.gov/isb

■ Emailing nps_isb@nps.gov

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

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