Dozens of cattle in Colorado have been found slaughtered over the past few weeks by an unknown creature that left no tracks.

Local media outlets stated that three dozen cattle had been found dead spread over 1.5 miles near Meeker, in Colorado. The deaths were reported across America and made headlines in the New York Post. Initially, the deaths were blamed on wolves but Colorado parks and wildlife (CPW) officials now state only five of the animals were likely killed that way.

Related Articles:

The first batch of 18 cows were found dead in October with ‘missing tails, bite marks on the hocks and flanks and hamstrings,' according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials. However, staff at the park were left scratching their head as they found no tracks or evidence of the animals in the area. Subsequent efforts using trail cameras and aerial flights to identify the killers failed.

Investigators then turned to testing the cattle for deadly clostridium bacteria (black leg), but post-mortems revealed a lack of lesions and inconclusive tests. Travis Black, CPW north-west region manager, told a local newspaper: “We’re scratching our heads a little bit. We don’t know exactly what has occurred up there. It's frustrating, trying to figure out exactly what occurred in this incident.”

Whilst Mr Black also said that while they don't believe wolves to be behind the deaths, they also can't rule them out completely. He said: "We have no evidence of wolves in that area. That doesn't mean they are not there.

"Although the ways the cows have been found doesn't align with the typical mannerisms of the wildlife predators. What we're lacking, in my opinion, is that typical feeding behaviour that we would see ... typically wolves would come back and feed on a carcase.”

Latest News:

Jerry Klinglesmith, the Meeker-area rancher who suffered the losses, believed the most likely scenario for the deaths was a canine attack which triggered the onset of a still-inconclusive cause of death. Mr Klinglesmith runs around 1000 cow-calf pairs on the 13,000-acre ranch. He said he brought in veterinary help in addition to Colorado Parks and Wildlife and other wildlife experts to investigate the cause of the deaths.

He said one of the possibilities investigated was black leg, which was also brought up as a possible cause at last month's Colorado Wildlife Commission meeting by Travis Black. But Mr Klinglesmith said in the story pathology results from samples sent to the Colorado State University Diagnostic Laboratory and Texas A and M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory could not confirm the deaths were caused by black leg.

Mr Klinglesmith added: "Right now, we don't have a solid answer as to what happened.''