GARDINER, MONTANA — A bounty has been laid to track down the person who fatally shot a protected and rare white wolf in Yellowstone National Park last month.
The 12-year-old wolf, known as “The White Lady” by tourists and the Yellowstone community, was female alpha of the Canyon Pack wolfpack and the mother of 14 living pups. On April 11, she was found mortally wounded by hikers in the northern area of the park. So damaged by her injuries, park officials had no choice but to euthanize her, sparing her from further suffering.
Results of the necropsy conducted reveal she was shot, but the identity and motive of her killer remains a mystery. The National Parks Service and wolf advocacy group Wolves of the Rockies have each offered up $5000 for information leading to the arrest of the persons responsible for her murder.
In 1995, wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone in an effort to restore ecological balance to the animal populations of the park. Officials have not commented on why they believe she was targeted. However, wolf advocates are aware of the disdain for the park’s 100 or so wolves held by many hunters who target their prey, and ranchers whose cattle are threatened on nearby pastures.
The White Lady is survived by her 14 yearlings, and her alpha male wolf companion who she’d reportedly been with for more than nine years.