Just a few days after being collared, a yearling female wolf was found dead in Wallowa County Tuesday.
The radio collar emitted a signal showing the wolf had been motionless for at least four hours.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officials determined the wolf was dead yesterday but found “no visible indication of foul play or other cause of death.”
The carcass is on its way to Washington State University’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for a complete exam. ODFW officials don’t know when the exam will be complete.
“Wolves and other wildlife can die in the wild for a variety of reasons,” said Russ Morgan, ODFW wolf coordinator. “U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and ODFW are working together to evaluate the death of this wolf, but we will not speculate on the cause until we receive results from a complete forensic examination. … While this individual wolf’s death is unfortunate, it is not expected to change the status of the pack, which at last count, had 14 other wolves.”
In an e-mail, Sean Stevens of the wolf advocate group Oregon Wild wrote: “It seems reasonable to suspect that this wolf did not die of natural causes considering that ODFW (in yesterday’s press release!) claimed that all three collared wolves were in “good body condition.”
Here’s the line from yesterday’s press release that he’s referring to:
“All of the wolves collared were in good body condition according to Russ Morgan, ODFW wolf coordinator. Further, all three wolves’ collars were located following the capture, indicating the animals had moved from the capture site.”
I think that merits an excerpt of exact language from today’s press release:
“The wolf’s carcass is being transported to Washington State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for a complete examination. While recovering the carcass, ODFW staff observed no visible indication of foul play or any other cause of death.”