Conservation officers in B.C.'s East Kootenay are investigating after the discovery of two wolves they believe were intentionally poisoned.
Conservation officer Greg Kruger said poison was first discovered in early March in the Dutch Creek region, west of Canal Flats — an area known for its active wolf population.
"Where all these ... poison containers have been found are all areas that we know are wolf travel corridors," Kruger said. "So our investigation is looking at someone specifically targeting the wolf population."
Discovered by dog owner
Kruger said a man contacted them in early March after his dog found and ate from something that looked like a white cupcake container in the area.
"Within a few minutes, that dog became ill [and] started having convulsions," Kruger said.
The dog was treated by a vet and survived. Conservation officers investigated the area, and, over the course of a few weeks, found 17 different batches of poison along the same road within several kilometres of each other.
Kruger said a sample of the suspected poison tested positive for strychnine — a toxic chemical commonly used in rat poison.
Likely more dead wolves, poison traps
Then, in early April, two wolf carcasses were reported to conservation officers by members of the public.
Kruger said toxicology tests have not yet come back, but officers suspect poisoning, as there is no evidence of any other cause of death.
Kruger says it's likely there are more dead wolves in less publicly accessible places that have yet to be discovered — and possibly more poison.
"[The containers we found] are all white, so we believe they were placed in the snow to blend in so they wouldn't be detected," Kruger said. "We've only found them since the snow has started to melt."
Kruger asked anyone with information to contact the East Kootenay Conservation Officer Service.
He said under the Wildlife Act anyone found to be intentionally poisoning wolves could face a fine of up to $1 million and more than a year in jail.
With files from CBC Radio One's Daybreak South.