FOX 32 NEWS - A violent act was committed against wildlife in the Cook County Forest Preserve. Seven coyote pups, just days old, were pulled out of their den and plunged into a bucket of water. Six of the pups died.
Now, we’re getting our first look at the only survivor as officials raise the reward for information.
Just six weeks old, a little coyote pup has been named "Peace" -- something he certainly deserves given the violent start to his life.
Last month someone pulled the pup and his six siblings out of their den, broke their bones, and then stuffed them in a bucket filled with water near Penny Road Pond in Barrington, where a fisherman found the bodies.
"I think it's horrible. To me it's such a heinous crime. It's so hard to understand how someone could want to injure an animal so badly and kill the others,” said Dawn Keller of Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation.
Now, Peace is being cared for by Keller, who runs a wildlife rehabilitation center. She says the bones in the surviving pup's leg were so badly broken they nearly had to amputate.
"It was pretty well shattered. When I first got him this whole section was flattened and it was crunchy,” Keller said. "He's doing really well. The first couple of nights I really didn't know if he'd make it through the night."
The Cook County Forest Preserve Police and the Illinois DNR are both investigating who drowned the pups at the lake. Right now we're told it's an open investigation, but they don't have any solid leads, which is why two groups, including the Illinois Humane Society, have now established a $6k reward for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrator.
"So we really are hoping whoever did this will be prosecuted. Found, identified and held accountable for their actions,” Keller said.
As cute as he looks, Keller says she's being careful not to socialize the little pup, who they hope will eventually be able to return to the wild.
"At this point we're raising him with the hopes that he will be releasable. We obviously don't know that yet. Time's going to tell based upon how this leg heals,” Keller said.
"Peace" will soon be placed with other coyote pups at the wildlife center and eventually he'll be raised by a non-releasable coyote mother who teaches the pups skills they will need in the wild.