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Fawn dies near Rexburg after eating toxic plant


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The following is a news release from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

REXBURG — Conservation Officer Andrew Sorensen received a call on Dec. 19 about a deceased mule deer fawn on the outskirts of Rexburg. The fawn belonged to a group of about 25 mule deer that hang out on the south end of town every winter. Upon investigation, Sorensen determined that the young fawn had ingested a large amount of Japanese yew and died of yew toxicity.

Japanese yew is a non-native plant that is often used as an ornamental shrub for landscaping. It is often sold by local nurseries and chosen by homeowners due to the plants ability to stay green and lush all year. Japanese yew is highly toxic when ingested by domestic livestock or by wildlife such as deer, elk, pronghorn and moose. Eating only a few ounces of the plant may result in the death of the animal.

“This is the first death I have seen this year caused by the plant and I hope it does not become a pattern.” says Sorensen.

Multiple wildlife deaths have been attributed to the Japanese yew over the past few years in Idaho including a moose calf Sorensen collected in the same area last year.

Fish and Game is encouraging homeowners living on the edge of towns or in rural areas to consider alternative plants when landscaping and to replace Japanese yew plants if they have them. In addition, anything a homeowner can do to prevent animals from gaining access to the plants is helpful.

You can find more information about the Japanese yew and reducing the risk to wildlife by clicking here.