U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials are asking for anyone with information on the death of a federally protected red wolf found in Tyrrell County last month to come forward.
The service announced Friday a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the successful prosecution in this case.
The red wolf, found dead April 15 in a muddy farm field south of Newlands Road, was shot in the spine, causing the wolf to collapse on the field. The red wolf’s lungs were found to be full of mud during a later necropsy.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact North Carolina Division of Refuge Law Enforcement Patrol Captain Frank Simms at 252-216-7504 or Special Agent Jason Keith at 919-856-4786 ext. 34.
Red wolves are governed by the rules established in 1995 setting up the experimental, nonessential population. This means that landowners may be allowed to remove a nuisance red wolf if it attacks their livestock or pets.
If a red wolf is wounded or killed during an otherwise legal activity, such as trapping coyotes following state regulations on private lands in the red wolf recovery area, that does not constitute a violation of federal regulation as long as it was not intentional or willful and is reported to the service within 24 hours.
If someone accidentally kills a red wolf, they must report it by calling the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service toll free at 1-855-4-WOLVES. It is important to report red wolf incidents quickly so that service personnel can minimize conflicts and retrieve any carcasses while they are still intact, officials said.