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Idaho Fish and Game hosting community presentation on toxic Japanese Yew

Increasing number of wildlife deaths due to eating toxic yew
Posted at 5:01 PM, Feb 21, 2023

IDAHO — Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG) plans to host a presentation on the dangers of the Japanese Yew and other human-caused wildlife issues on February 28.

The plant is a popular landscaping piece that is legal to plant in Idaho, but Blaine county, Kethcum and Hailey have an ordinance the bans the planting and possession of the species due to its toxicity to wildlife and humans.

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To date, over 20 elk and two moose have died from consuming the plant, one as recent as February 21. The IDFG presentation also plans to highlight other issues impacting our communities, like mountain lion safety and wildlife entanglement issues.

RELATED | IDFG sees uptick in wildlife entanglements near Wood River valley

“Japanese yew is one of the most toxic, woody plants in the world, but it is very popular as a drought-resistant ornamental shrub,” said Sierra Robatcek, regional wildlife biologist.

IDFG hopes to see more awareness and education spread on this topic so that more big game animals don't succumb to death from this plant.

“We moved into the wild, to their environment. This is their home too, so being cognizant and being aware and taking care of our wildlife that are in the area, and maybe looking into what we are planting in our yard and the affects that it will have,” said Kristy Heitzman, Administrative Services Director for Blaine County.

For more information on the meeting, click here.