Famous Yellowstone wolf severely injured and euthanized; investigation launched

The 12-year-old white wolf was a favorite among park photographers. Photo: Courtesy of Yellowstone National Park

One of only three white wolves residing in Yellowstone National Park has been euthanized after hikers found the animal dying and in shock on a trail near Gardiner, Montana.

"Staff on scene agreed the animal could not be saved due to the severity of its injuries,"  P.J. White, Chief of the Wildlife and Aquatic Resources Branch at Yellowstone, stated in a news release issued Friday.

The park is investigating what might have caused the initial trauma, and a necropsy has been scheduled.

A park spokeswoman declined to elaborate on the nature and extent of the injuries, citing the ongoing investigation.

RELATED: Woman startled to find wolves joining her morning commute; video

The 12-year-old female wolf was part of the Canyon Pack. She commonly ranged across a vast region from the Hayden Valley to the Firehole River area in the northern end of the park.

Because of her white coat, she was easy to recognize and a favorite among park photographers.