Five wolves were found dead in northeastern Oregon in February, according to law authorities.

On Feb. 9, a collar on a wolf indicated a mortality signal in the Mt. Harris area in Union County, Oregon State Police Capt. Timothy R. Fox said in an email on Friday afternoon when asked about it by The Associated Press.

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Arriving officers found a total of five wolves dead, Fox said. The cause of death is unknown, he said. All five carcasses were taken to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife forensic lab to determine the cause of death, the email said.

The incident is under investigation, according to Oregon Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Michelle Dennehy.

“This is very unsettling news for a species that is only just beginning to recover in Oregon,” Kathleen Gobush, Northwest program director at Defenders of Wildlife said in a news release. “Predators, particularly wolves, are often the target of ruthless persecution, and the killing of one wolf, not to mention five, appears to follow a growing pattern of grave concern. Defenders of Wildlife will continue to work to make Oregon safe for people and wolves.”

No further information was released.

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