SALMON, Idaho (AP) _ Someone shot and killed one of the 15 wolves released into the central Idaho wilderness as part of a federal plan to restore the predator to the Rocky Mountain states.

Officials of the Fish and Wildlife Service were headed to the remote area where the carcass was discovered Sunday, said Lemhi County Sheriff Brett Barsalou.

He said the killing of the wolf involved an attack on livestock.

To appease ranchers, the government declared the animals released in Idaho and Wyoming an ``experimental, nonessential population,'' meaning the animals don't enjoy full protection as an endangered species. Ranchers can shoot a wolf if they can prove it attacked their livestock.

A spokeswoman for the Fish and Wildlife Service in Boise said only that the agency was investigating the report of the shooting.

The sheriff said the killing apparently occurred Sunday morning about 25 miles south of Salmon near the Idaho-Montana line.

The wolves, imported from Canada for reintroduction in central Idaho and Yellowstone National Park, were released over staunch objections of ranchers in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, who maintained that they would prey on their herds.

The Idaho wolves were released just west of Salmon in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness.

Federal authorities had reported just last week that all 15 seemed to be doing well, were moving regularly in the region and were finding prey to eat.

All were fitted with radio-collars that transmit a signal for tracking and to determine if they have died.