A herd of 41 elk died Wednesday morning after falling through ice in east Oregon, according to wildlife officials.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said in a Wednesday Facebook post that the elk perished after falling through the ice on the Powder River.
“After several years of drought, Eastern Oregon is experiencing a real winter this year,” wildlife officials said in the post. “The extra moisture and snowpack will be good for wildlife and habitat in the long run, but conditions may be tough on critters this winter.”
Wildlife officials received a call from a person who lives near the reservoir and witnessed the incident, Brian Ratliff, district wildlife biologist at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Baker City office told the Baker City Herald.
Ratliff said wildlife officials went to the river to see whether they could save any of the elk, but the conditions were too dangerous.
Very sad situation, as the elk have a hard enough time making it through the winter without a whole herd being wiped out! It will take many years for the herd to build back up in this particular area. What a helpless feeling for the protectors of wildlife not to be able to do anything to save even one animal!