Adding to the list of mortalities in the state of Idaho this winter, eight more elk have succumbed to the deadly Japanese Yew plant according to Idaho Fish and Game. The plant, which remains green in color throughout the year, is a very attractive potential food source to many large animals but is highly toxic when ingested.
The tally of mortalities from this ornamental plant now stands at 65, comprising of 50 pronghorn antelope that succumbed to the plant in mid-January and seven additional elk found in the Boise foothills earlier in the month.
Officials believe the elk involved in this most recent incident were probably some of the elk impacted by the Henrys Creek Fire just east of Idaho Falls that destroyed vital winter range on the Tex Wildlife Management Area. With this in mind, officials are continuing feeding operations within the Management Area and are hopeful that these efforts will keep 3,000-4,000 elk from potential conflicts with private landowners, agricultural operations and from becoming potential safety concerns around busy roadways.
As with previous mortalities, Idaho Fish and Game is once again asking the public to be aware of any Japanese Yew that might be growing on their property. If found, officials have stated that they are more than willing to help homeowners be rid of the plants.
“If homeowners are willing to remove the plants we will work with them to reimburse them for replacements that are safe for wildlife,” said Fish and Game Regional Supervisor Jim White.