Tough Winter Takes Toll on Wildlife

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A long-time biologist watched a herd of 150 elk during a frigid March morning in southwest Washington. Then a mature 6 x 7 bull suddenly plopped down in the snow and died. It showed no sign of injuries and died within one minute.

“I have never seen anything like that in 38 years,” Scott Rasley, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife conflict specialist, told Northwest Magazine. “The bull had the normal amount of lack of fat that we would find this time of year. And after a late and very cold snowy winter, basically none.”

Temperatures were particularly cold in Eastern Washington during February 2019 and heavy snow soon followed. Biologists continue to gather information to determine the impact winter weather conditions had on elk, deer and other wildlife.

(Photo source: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)