The well-known white wolf found near death and then euthanized last month in Yellowstone National Park died of a gunshot wound, according to preliminary results of a necropsy outlined in a news release late Thursday.

Park officials want the public's help to solve the crime, Park Superintendent Dan Wenk said.

“Due to the serious nature of this incident, a reward of up to $5,000.00 is offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual(s) responsible for this criminal act,” Wenk said.

Hikers discovered the mortally wounded Canyon Pack alpha female wolf on April 11 inside the park near Gardiner, Mont.

Park staff responded quickly to the situation. Due to the severity of the wolf’s injuries, they euthanized the animal.

The deceased wolf was sent to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Ore., for a necropsy. The lab then sent the preliminary results about the gunshot to the park.

National Park Service law enforcement believes the wolf was shot on the north side of the park near Gardiner, or near the Old Yellowstone Trail which is located in the park on the northern boundary.

The incident likely occurred sometime between 1 a.m. April 10 and 2 p.m. April 11.

This 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.

If you have information that could help with this investigation, please contact the National Park Service Investigative Services Branch (ISB). Your tips will be confidential. You don't have to tell them who you are, but please tell them what you know:

  • CALL the ISB Tip Line at 888-653-0009.
  • TEXT to 202-379-4761.
  • ONLINE and click "Submit a Tip."
  • MESSAGE via Facebook @InvestigativeServicesNPS or Twitter @SpecialAgentNPS.

The park will provide more information about this ongoing investigation when it is available.