MANTEO, NC - Three red wolves have been shot to death in North Carolina since September.

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service says all three had on radio tracking collars.

The red wolf is protected under The Endangered Species Act. Anyone convicted of killing one faces a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

According to federal officials, the first wolf was found dead on September 4, 2012, near Creswell, in the western part of Tyrrell County, N.C.

The remains of the second wolf were found on October 12, east of Belhaven, in Beaufort County, N.C.

The most recent killing was discovered November 2, north of Creswell near the Washington and Tyrrell county line.

A reward of up to $2,500 is available for information that directly leads to an arrest, a criminal conviction, a civil penalty assessment, or forfeiture of property of those responsible for these killings.

US Fish and Wildlife officials say about 100 red wolves roam their native habitats in five northeastern North Carolina counties and approximately 200 comprise the Species Survival Plan captive breeding program across the United States, including one at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in Manteo.

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