Ten elk died yesterday after eating Japanese Yew in the Hailey Cemetery; later that night a lone cow elk fell in a window well and was trapped in a resident's basement, and other elk continue to be hit and killed on roadways.
"It is one of those years, we have a lot of elk and we have our first normal snow levels in the past five years and elk are being pushed into the valley and getting into trouble," said Daryl Meints, Magic Valley Fish and Game Regional Wildlife Manager. "The best thing for people to do, is slow down when driving, when you have elk in your backyard give them a wide berth and don't push them, and if you have a problem call Fish and Game or local city police or the county sheriff."
At the cemetery, city maintenance handled the problem quickly by removing all the Japanese Yew from the grounds.
"Japanese Yew is known to be extremely toxic," said Meints. "This has happened before in the Wood River Valley and other places around the state to both elk and moose."
Fish and Game officers removed the dead elk from the cemetery to dispose of the carcasses.
At about 2 am, a home owner just outside the Hailey city limits was awakened when a cow elk fell in a window well, breaking the window and ending up in a basement bedroom. Blaine County Sheriff and Idaho Fish and Game officers were able to drive the bewildered elk up the basement stairs to freedom.
"It took us about 2.5 hours, but we got her out uninjured," said Alex Head, Fish and Game Senior Conservation Officer. "The basement will need a good, deep cleaning, but we are glad it worked out as well as it did."
Idaho Fish and Game are keeping a close eye on the situation for all wildlife in the Wood River area and other places around the region.
People having problems with winter wildlife can call the Idaho Fish and Game Magic Valley Regional Office at (208) 324-4359.