- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 13, 2015

CODY, Wyo. (AP) - State and federal investigators asked for the public’s help Wednesday as they try to find out who shot and killed a grizzly bear near the East Entrance to Yellowstone National Park.

A group on horseback discovered the dead bear early last week about 20 yards off the Pahaska Trail. The dead bear was about six miles northeast of Yellowstone’s east gate, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Wyoming Game and Fish Department said in a release.

Grizzlies are protected as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Illegally killing a grizzly is punishable by up to six months in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Investigators suspect the bear was shot between May 1 and May 4. They’re specifically interested in anybody who might have been acting suspiciously in that area or who was parked at the trailhead or near Pahaska Tepee Lodge off U.S. Highway 14-16-20.

Anybody with information can call Game and Fish game warden Travis Crane at (307) 587-4304 or the Game and Fish wildlife crime hotline, 1 (877)-943-3847.

At least 750 grizzlies inhabit the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. At least a couple dozen die every year at the hands of wildlife managers or people who kill them during inadvertent encounters.

Relatively few grizzly killings are investigated as criminal acts.

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