JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. (AP) — Officials say four wolf pups found dead last week in the Horse Creek area near Jackson likely died of natural causes.

The Jackson Hole News and Guide reports Wyoming Game and Fish Department spokesman Mark Gocke says the agency won't know for sure until they get the necropsies back from the lab.

Game and Fish officials initially said they could not release much information, citing a Wyoming statute that's intended to protect the identity of people who legally kill wolves.

An area horse guide saw two of the puppies Thursday while leading a private ride and immediately reported them to authorities.

Wyoming Game and Fish Department personnel arrived and found a third dead young wolf nearby as well as a fourth pup that was barely hanging on.