The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is waiting for the results of lab tests to determine what caused the recent death of six juvenile wolves.
Jon Heggen, enforcement chief for Fish and Game, said the wolves were found on Friday, Aug. 21, at Ditto Flat in the Sawtooth National Forest north of Fairfield, near the upper reaches of the South Fork of the Boise River.
While no obvious external injuries such as bullet wounds were found, Heggem said, the deaths are being treated as a criminal investigation until their cause can be determined.
"Being a criminal investigation is a matter of protocol and means we will handle the samples as evidence," Heggen said. "But we still don't know—it could have been nothing more different than a canine drinking out of an algae bloom."
Heggen said he believes the carcasses were found by a Forest Service employee. He said the wolves were found in close proximity, but not right next to each other, causing the states of decomposition to differ.
Heggen said the wolves each weighed about 35 pounds.
He said it could take up to two weeks before a report is returned from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife forensics laboratory in Ashland, Ore.
Jon Duval: firstname.lastname@example.org