Warning: Some of the details of the investigation may be too graphic for some readers
WALLOWA, Ore. - An Oregon wolf pack killed a pregnant cow in a private pasture on Monday morning, biologists from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife confirmed.
The rancher found the cow dead and saw wolves near the carcass. ODFW responded to investigate to determine whether the wolves killed the cow or were scavenging the carcass.
The evidence led state biologists to confirm that wolves had killed the cow.
Biologists said GPS tracking collar data showed that wolf OR-4, the alpha male of the Imnaha pack, was in the area from 11 p.m. Sunday until 8 a.m. Monday.
"In addition, the very high number of tracks found at the scene suggests the pack was present," ODFW reported. "A clear struggle scene was observed in the snow which showed multiple wolf tracks and large amounts of blood scattered over a large area of the carcass."
At the end of 2012, the Imnaha pack was estimated at 8 wolves, including a breeding pair.
Biologists said the cow suffered multiple bites in the typical wolf attack areas - behind the front shoulders; in front of the front shoulders and brisket area; groin and anterior portion of hind legs; and in the rump/udder area. The wounds suggest the injuries came while the cow was still alive.
"The fetus of the cow had been removed and mostly consumed - similar to past confirmed depredations of adult cows by the Imnaha Pack," biologits noted. "All evidence (wolves present at scene, bite marks and locations, struggle scene with multiple wolf tracks, and internal hemorrhage) indicates wolf attack."