Written by By Emily Lewis, CNN London
After being spotted twice on Wednesday in L.A. — once on the Griffith Observatory’s roof and once in Highland Park — the gray wolf named Remington, the first to be born in California in almost 30 years, was shot and killed in the Angeles National Forest on Wednesday, conservation group the Center for Biological Diversity confirmed.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has launched an investigation, according to Steve Martarano, senior wildlife enforcement manager at the department.
“While we can’t prove who shot the gray wolf Remington, it appears we have at least one individual who was intent on killing Remington,” Martarano said in a statement. “We ask the public to help us identify this person and the vehicles that were out in the area.”
Some California residents had expressed concern that Remington — whose stories were published by the nonprofit group — could be carrying a contagious rabies virus to humans.
“People are understandably anxious about what Remington could be carrying,” Martarano said. “Unfortunately, this wolf had been captured on multiple occasions, placed in a trailer, tranquilized, euthanized and returned to the wild.”
The rescue organization Center for Wildlife stepped in on Wednesday to help Remington travel back and forth across the Golden State. The group named the lion-like gray wolf named Remington after a truck company’s leadership and the avid sportsman, known for championing conservation causes.
As Remington hiked L.A.’s steep backcountry on Wednesday, activists from the animal rights group PETA stood behind a crowd of supporters cheering the wolf, and hope Remington’s death could spur additional measures to protect California’s gray wolves.
“The dogs who shot Remington probably had a beef and used it as an excuse to kill their prey,” Paul Shapiro, PETA’s senior vice president of policy and government affairs, said in a statement. “We hope this incident will spur California to reconsider its failure to designate multiple protected areas for gray wolves so they can live freely in the state.”
Gray wolves were reintroduced into the western United States in the 1990s, and today are found throughout most of the continent’s interior. Two other gray wolves in the state were also captured and returned to the wild earlier this year.