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IDFG sees uptick in wildlife entanglements near Wood River valley

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removing a tomato cage from an elk in Blaine County Feb 2023.jpg
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Posted at 4:34 PM, Feb 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-16 18:34:12-05

IDAHO — Since the start of February, Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG) has seen four cases of elk entanglements in the Wood River valley.

This, along with a slew of other incidents involving deer, elk and moose being found entangled in sleds, ropes, hammocks and many other outdoor manmade items.

“We’ve had everything from tomato cages to swing sets to tennis court nets, Christmas lights, dreamcatchers, you name it. It's actually quite remarkable what these animals, what they encounter and what they end up getting themselves entangled in,” said Mike McDonald, regional wildlife manager for IDFG.

Along with more encounters, wildlife entanglements can lead to the death of an animal either by asphyxiation or death by dart gun which is one way IDFG tries to help wildlife.

“This is not a biological issue. This is a social issue,” said McDonald. “It's hard to get wildlife to change their behavior. It’s a lot easier to get people to change their behavior.”

Educating the public is a large part of fixing this issue and IDFG hopes Idahoans can take it upon themselves to address this human caused problem.

“If people can self-police, and maybe a little peer pressure on their neighbors, that’s going to go a long way,” said McDonald. “We create landscapes, places where we live where we can see wildlife, but we create landscapes that wildlife can pass through and not live in. Ideally that would be the best-case scenario”

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