Investigations have recently been launched involving the deaths of six gray wolves in Washington State due to poisoning. Two of the six carcasses were found recently; the other four were found back in February. The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife is offering a cash reward of $51,400 for any information to crack the case.
The wolves were tested and their toxicology results showed that all of the wolves had died from the ingestion of poison. The police have been investigating this case for over a year, but no leads have been made yet. Gray wolves are listed by the state as endangered, meaning their population is declining. They are also listed as federally endangered by the western two-thirds of the state. Harming or killing animals on the endangered list is a crime. This crime is classified as a misdemeanor, and the prosecuted suspects face the possibility of a year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
Multiple non-profit organizations have worked together to contribute to a reward for information that will be able to lead to an arrest or conviction of anyone responsible. Zoe Hanely, a wolf biologist said these killings were “a tragic and unnecessary loss”. She also stated, “This cowardly act flies in the face of committed efforts from biologists, policymakers, and ranchers working to recover and coexist with wolves in Washington.”
Although researchers are not 100 percent sure yet what the poison was or who is causing this, they are working and doing their best to find out.