Breaking News
More () »

Investigation into cow calves deaths ends, cause unconfirmed

Wildlife investigators said there's no evidence wolves were in the area near Meeker in western Colorado.

MEEKER, Colo. — Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) said Tuesday that investigators can't determine the cause of death of cow calves in Rio Grande County last year and the investigation is being closed.

In October, CPW said it was investigating a report of 18 dead domestic cow calves on White River National Forest land near Meeker, some of which were thought to have possibly been killed by wolves.

CPW's initial investigation revealed three to five of the calves had injuries consistent with wolf kills. The deaths were believed to have happened over the course of about two weeks, in an area spanning a few miles. More dead cattle were found later, for a total of at least 40.

>The video above is from November.

Investigators could not determine the exact cause of death for the calves, which had hide damage consistent with a canine attack.

CPW Northwest Region Manager Travis Black said that there was no evidence wolves were ever in the area.

The discovery of a pack of nine dogs harassing wildlife seven miles from the livestock incident caused investigators to question whether wolves were in the area. CPW said it is working with the Rio Blanco Sheriff's Office to deal with any domestic dog issues on a case-by-case basis.

“Although a few cattle showed wounds consistent with injuries from large canines, further investigation to collect additional evidence has yielded no confirmation of wolves in the area,” Black said.

“Based on the hide damage and muscle trauma to the animals, we believe these few cattle were likely killed, or injured and died later, by some species of canine larger than coyotes,” Black said. “But we do not have specific evidence to determine what species of canid caused the depredations. The 90-day window allowed for producers to provide proof of loss has expired, so the investigation is being closed.”  

The owner of the livestock released a statement thanking investigators.

“The Klinglesmith family would like to thank the local DWMs and veterinary staff for the many hours spent in the field and in the office investigating this incident,” Lenny Klinglesmith said.

CPW said the Klinglesmith family will not pursue further compensation due to the lack of evidence of wolves in the area.

The livestock producer and livestock veterinarians continue to investigate potential health components and mitigation efforts beyond the initial report of depredation, CPW said.

> Watch 9NEWS original shows, live Colorado news and weather updates, daily forecasts, and sports coverage for free on the 9NEWS+ app on Roku and Fire TV.  

SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Animals and Wildlife 

Watch more from 9NEWS on the free 9NEWS+ app for Roku and Fire TV.      

9NEWS+ has multiple live daily shows including 9NEWS Mornings, Next with Kyle Clark and 9NEWS+ Daily, an original streaming program. 9NEWS+ is where you can watch live breaking news, weather updates, and press conferences. You can also replay recent newscasts and find videos on demand of our top stories, local politics, investigations and Colorado specific features.      

To download 9NEWS+ on Roku search for KUSA.       

To download 9NEWS+ on Fire TV search for 9NEWS.     

RELATED: Watch 9NEWS for free on ROKU, Apple TV, Fire TV 

Before You Leave, Check This Out