By Kelly Burgess
The reward being offered for information on who illegally shot and killed an 800-pound grizzly bear in Montana has grown to more than $11,000. (The bear killed is not the one in the above photo.)
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has begun distributing posters touting the large reward, recently sweetened to $11,800 after other organizations and private individuals, including Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, local ranchers and Defenders of Wildlife, committed funds for information leading to the conviction of the poacher or poachers.
"Interest in prosecuting the individual or individuals responsible for this illegal shooting has grown and so has the reward," said FWP spokesman Ron Aasheim.
The reward is for tips on who killed the 800-pound bear only. The Fish and Wildlife Service is also investigating two other illegal grizzly shootings in the same area.
The bear was one that FWP officials were familiar with, having accidentally captured it in 2007 while doing a population study. It is believed to have been one of the largest male grizzlies in the region -- the average weight for such animals is approximately 600 pounds.
Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to contact TIP-MONT, the statewide FWP anti-poaching hotline, at (800) 847-6668.