Lake Walcott, Idaho – After a herd of pronghorn antelope tried to cross a frozen Idaho reservoir, nearly 50 became stranded on the ice. Six were rescued by Idaho Fish and Game staff, but 20 had to be euthanized, and another 10 were killed by coyotes.
On January 15, Idaho Fish and Game staff were notified by anglers at Lake Wolcott that around 500 pronghorn had tried to cross the ice-covered reservoir.
The anglers told officials about 200 made it across, but some were spooked and ran onto an especially slick section of ice where they slipped and fell. The remaining antelope reportedly returned to shore.
IDFW employees went to the lake that afternoon and found 47 antelope stranded on the ice. Due to fading light, they decided to mount a rescue the following morning.
Staff returned and used an airport to reach the antelope. They discovered 36 were still on the ice, but 10 of them had been killed by predators.
According to IDFW, six antelope were rescued and released back on shore. However, after examination it was determined 20 of the remaining pronghorn had suffered significant injuries due to slipping on the ice, including dislocated hips and shoulders. They had to be euthanized.
The euthanized animals’ meat was salvaged, processed and will be donated to people in need. “At least they’re going to be used. That’s the only silver lining,” Regional Supervisor Toby Boudreau said.
One IDFW official said he had never seen an event like this in his 26-year-career.
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