Popular Landscape Shrub Kills More Elk

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Another half dozen elk died after ingesting the Japanese yew shrub. It happened in the Horseshoe Bend and Garden Valley communities north of Boise, Idaho.

“The yew has a red berry…that has an opening in the bottom. It also has flat evergreen leaves that are about an inch long and an eighth of an inch wide and pointed on the ends,” Lynn Kinter, Idaho Fish and Game botanist, told the Idaho Statesman.

Kinter said most of the red berries have already fallen off the plants. She also added the leaves, stems and the seed inside the berry are all poisonous.

Earlier this month a mule deer fawn died after eating part of a yew plant just outside of Rexburg, Idaho. During the winter of 2016-2017, heavy snowfall forced wildlife into low-lying areas in search of food. As a result, eating yew killed at least 50 pronghorn and 23 elk. Several bears also died in Pennsylvania from the same cause.

The plant is also toxic for livestock, pets and people.

Wildlife officials encourage homeowners and landowners with wildlife nearby to check their property to determine if it contains any yew shrubs. If so, they are urged strongly to remove them or securely cover them in heavy burlap.