Cause of Washington Wolf Death Unclear

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The exact cause of death for the Imnaha wolf found dead in early March is unclear.

Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory ran several tests on the carcass looking for injuries, disease and toxins but test results did not point to a specific cause of death.

The only abnormal finding was some internal hemorrhage in the wolf's chest cavity. Forensic analysis did not point to a clear cause of the hemorrhage but biologists believe the hemorrhage may have contributed to the wolf's death.

While the cause of the wolf's death is unclear, wildlife managers acknowledge that capture-related deaths of wildlife can happen.

Wildlife managers take several steps to reduce the risk of injury during capture efforts, including blindfolding the animal (to protect eyes and reduce stress), cooling or warming the animal as needed, providing sedatives when necessary, and having a veterinarian on site.

All the above steps were taken with this wolf. According to the veterinarian and wildlife biologists at the capture site, no problems were observed when the wolf was released. Radio tracking data indicated that the wolf recovered and traveled at least five miles after the collaring.


hunter25's picture

Well I would guess that if

Well I would guess that if the wolf died within five miles after being caught , tested , and collared, that it probably had something to do with his capture. I'm sure there are a lot of diferent stress factors invoved in this. It's unfortunate for the wolf but with all the problems they are causing it's not a big loss in the overall scheme of things. I suppose they would say he was collared so they could study how to control the population better but seems like a waste of money to me.

jaybe's picture

Interesting - Apparently this

Interesting - Apparently this wolf died shortly after being released from being collared. It didn't come right out and say that, but the suggestions are there. It could be that it was a case of hemorrhage due to the stress of being captured, blindfolded, sedated, probably transported from one place to another, and then collared. I know that most people would have severe reactions to that kind of treatment.

On the other hand, it might turn out that there is some sort of disease out there that is killing the wolf population. We have bovine tuberculosis and chronic wasting disease for the deer. We have whirling disease for trout. Why not have another disease that affects the wolf population. Just about all fish, birds and mammals have some sort of diseases that are lethal, there's no reason to believe that the wolf would be any different.