The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service is requesting assistance with an investigation involving the suspected illegal take of a radio-collared red wolf that was recently found dead.
The federally protected wolf was found with a suspected gunshot wound on Monday south of Roper and west of Lake Phelps in Washington County, officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Red Wolf Recovery Program said in a news release Wednesday.
Anyone with information that directly leads to an arrest, a criminal conviction, a civil penalty assessment, or forfeiture of property on the subject or subjects responsible for the suspected unlawful take of this red wolf may be eligible for a reward of up to $2,500.
A total of nine red wolves have died since Jan. 1. Of those nine, three were struck and killed by vehicles, one died as a result of non-management related actions, and five were confirmed or suspected gunshot deaths.
The red wolf is protected under The Endangered Species Act. The maximum criminal penalties for the unlawful taking of a red wolf are one year imprisonment and $100,000 fine per individual.
Anyone with information on the death of this red wolf or any others, past or future, is urged to contact Resident Agent in Charge John Elofson at 404-763-7959, Refuge Officer Frank Simms at 252-216-7504, or N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission Officer Robert Wayne at 252-216-8225.
The red wolf is one of the world's most endangered wild canids. Once common throughout the southeastern United States, red wolf populations have been decimated due to intensive predator control programs and loss of habitat.