(WGHP) — North Carolina federal officials are asking for the public’s help in an investigation into the death of a federally protected red wolf.

The red wolf was found dead in Tyrrell County in a muddy farm field south of Newlands Road on April 15, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The red wolf was shot in the spine, causing the wolf to collapse on the field. The red wolf’s lungs were found to be full of mud during a later autopsy.

The USFWS is offering a reward of $5,000 for information that leads to the successful prosecution in this case.

Anyone with information on the death of the red wolf is urged to contact the North Carolina Division of Refuge Law Enforcement Patrol Captain Frank Simms at 252-216-7504 or Special Agent Jason Keith at 919-856-4786 ext. 34.

Red wolves are governed by the rules established in 1995 setting up the experimental, nonessential population. This means that landowners may be allowed to remove a nuisance red wolf if it attacks their livestock or pets. Additionally, a red wolf that is taken in relation to any type of otherwise legal activity, like trapping coyotes following state regulations, on private lands in the red wolf recovery area does not constitute a violation of federal regulation provided that the taking is not intentional or willful and is reported to the USFWS within 24 hours.

If someone accidentally kills a red wolf, they must report it by calling the USFWS toll-free at 1-855-4-WOLVES (1-855-496-5837).

To learn more about red wolves and the USFWS ’s effort to recover them, click here.