LOCAL NEWS

Plant is likely to blame for 19 elk deaths in Mapleton, DWR says

Jan 30, 2023, 10:11 PM | Updated: 10:28 pm

MAPLETON, Utah — A certain plant is likely to blame for the deaths of 19 elk found in Mapleton over the span of a week, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said Monday.

When you live so close to the mountains like they do in Mapleton, it’s not a surprise to see elk herds on the move.

“They’re constant in our town; we’re right at the foothills,” said Mapleton Police Chief John Jackson.

But what has been a surprise for him and other residents is to see the animals move lower and lower into town — and most recently — to see them not moving at all.

“It’s just been such a tough year for the elk,” Jackson said.

On Jan. 21, one of his officers found a dead elk. Jackson said it didn’t have any obvious signs of trauma from a gunshot or a car, so they decided to call the DWR

“It’s just an interesting phenomenon that this happened,” said Scott Root, DWR’s conservation outreach manager.

Root has been with the division for 32 years and said they don’t usually see that many elk die.

“And we want to know why.”

It started with the discovery of only a couple of dead elk. Then five or six more. And over the next week, they kept getting calls for more and more dead elk until they reached 19, the last of which they found Jan. 27.

Root said they took three of the elk to a veterinary diagnostic lab in Spanish Fork. And on Monday, Root said he received word that the initial report showed each elk had yew plants in their stomach.

“Yew plant is a common ornamental shrub-like plant used in landscaping,” Root said. “But it’s also very toxic to animals.”

Root said in his 32 years in the division, he’s “never seen this with the yew plant.”

“This year has been a little different because of all the deep snow, and they’re coming down and they’re probably trying plants that they don’t typically consume because they’re coming down to town.”

There are a couple of herds that live and migrate through the area, Root said. Each herd with about 80 to 100 elk. He said the herds will be OK after these deaths. But he hopes people will learn from this, too.

“There may be a silver lining to this whole incident,” he said. “It’s a good reminder to us to know what we’re planting on our landscape.”

Root hopes people will be more aware of what they’re planting and make changes as needed. He said they’re still waiting for the final toxicology report to confirm that the yew plant is the cause.

“Honestly, it’s heartbreaking,” Jackson said. “It’s 19 elk. They’re beautiful. We love them.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

Homeowner Mark Shea tells KSL’s Matt Gephardt he paid someone to build a deck who abandoned the j...

Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt: Homeowners ask why authorities can’t shut down an unlicensed contractor

Two Salt Lake County homeowners hired and paid someone to build decks for their homes but say he left the jobs unfinished. Turns out, he’s been cited by the state for not having a contractor’s license before.

2 hours ago

Tony Arriaga, owner of Beehive Gloves, creating and relacing baseball gloves at his work desk....

Brianna Chavez

West Valley City business asking for used gloves to repurpose and donate

A West Valley City business is hoping to give back to the community by giving new life to old baseball and softball gloves.

2 hours ago

Jodi Hildebrandt and Ruby Franke on an advertisement for the ConneXions program....

Shelby Lofton

Life coaching regulations under consideration following Hildebrandt case

A bill regulating life coaching programs in Utah is on hold to give the Utah Division of Professional Licensing more time to study the profession.

3 hours ago

CORRECTS SENTENCE TO UP TO 30 YEARS, NOT 60 YEARS - Defendant Ruby Franke looks on during court Tue...

Emily Ashcraft, KSL.com

Ruby Franke’s parents, brother say Franke was brainwashed

Ruby Franke's parents asked a judge to show "as much mercy" as possible ahead of her sentencing this week for child abuse, saying their daughter had been brainwashed.

4 hours ago

Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Layton, and Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, react to a reporter’s qu...

Daniella Rivera and Annie Knox, KSL TV

‘More secrecy’: Utah lawmakers advance bills targeting government transparency

Several bills would chip away at government transparency in Utah, including one proposal that’s a direct response to KSL’s fight for public records. A First Amendment attorney says he’s alarmed.

4 hours ago

The scene of the fatal crash near 12300 S. State Street....

Michael Houck

Driver dead after experiencing a medical emergency, Draper police say

A person has died after experiencing a medical issue while driving Thursday night in Draper.

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Plant is likely to blame for 19 elk deaths in Mapleton, DWR says