The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking information about the suspect who killed an endangered radio-collared wolf in California.

The wolf traveled from Oregon in December 2018 and was found dead shortly after arriving in California. The killing of the wolf sparked outrage among wildlife conservatives, including Amaroq Weiss. Weiss is a West Coast wolf advocate at The Center for Biological Diversity and stated, “We grieve the senseless and illegal killing of this precious wolf.”

The wolf’s remains were found on December 5th, 2018. It was counted as one of less than a dozen wolves known to be living in California.

Reward Offered

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced for the first time this week that the wolf’s death in 2018 was caused by an unlawful shooting of the animal. They are offering a reward of $2,500; the Center for Biological Diversity then added $5,000, making the total reward $7,500.

At a press conference about the reward increase, Weiss said, “This loss is a terrible blow to wolf conservation in California. It underscores why our endangered wolves need the strongest possible protection at both state and federal levels.”

The investigation into the death of the wolf confirmed it had been shot and killed by a .22 caliber weapon. The 18-month-old male wolf was found dead along County Road 91 in Modoc County, California, after the radio-controlled collar indicated the animal had become deceased.

Endangered Species Prosecution

In California, gray wolves are protected as an endangered species under both state and federal laws. The federal Endangered Species Act carries a penalty of up to one year in jail and a $100,000 fine for violating the law.

“We can’t let poachers deny future generations their opportunity to see these incredible animals in the wild,” Weiss said. “Whatever you think of wolves, poaching is wrong and cowardly. We hope someone steps forward with information leading to the killer’s prosecution.”

If you have information about who shot the wolf, you should contact the Sacramento Field Office of the Fish and Wildlife Service of Law Enforcement at 916-569-8444.