Tests are under way to determine what killed two cougars, a badger and a dog on the Kennecott Utah Copper property just north of Copperton.
"They are doing lab tests, bacterial cultures and/or toxicology reports," Mike Marshall, state veterinarian, said Thursday. "It may be several days before we know anything."The animal carcasses were discovered Tuesday by a Kennecott employee.
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources initiated an investigation into the deaths on Wednesday. Authorities are suspicious because the animals died within three or four weeks of each other and were found with 60 feet of each other.
"It's fairly unusual to find four dead animals so close together - in fact - it's really unusual," said DWR Sgt. Mike Fowlks. "I'm not willing to speculate on criminal wrongdoing until the results of the tests come back."
Fowlks said the flesh of one cougar had been eaten by another animal or animals, while the other was "pretty emaciated." The dog had blood coming from its nose, and the badger had blunt trauma to the head.
It's not unusual to find cougars in the area; they roam the Oquirrh Mountains in western Salt Lake County.