Wildlife Leaving Mountains In Search of Food

Wildlife Leaving Mountains In Search of Food

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Kimberly Houk ReportingIn the past weeks you may have seen quite a few deer and elk wandering in your neighborhood; you may have even seen a moose. Wildlife is coming down out of the deep snow in the mountains to find food, and it's causing some problems for both people and the animals.

In a world where wild animals and people generally don't mix, this winter they're mixing in Utah. Homeowners along the east bench in Salt Lake City and into Bountiful through Logan are waking up to deer, elk, and moose in their yards. The animals are feasting on their shrubs and trees.

The deep snow in the mountains is driving the animals to the valley. They're hungry and looking for food. But the Divisions of Wildlife Resources says, don't feed them.

Jim Karpowitz, Division of Wildlife Resources: “If they feed the deer the wrong things, they'll kill them. If it concentrates deer in an area where they don't need to be, it can damage the habitat."

Karpowitz says the state may start a feeding program to keep the animals in the mountains. It would be costly, but they say it's worth it to keep the moose away from people.

Karpowitz: “They can be very aggressive and when they lay their ears back and look threatening, they can be aggressive and can injure people."

Officials say another part of the problem is homes being built further up on the mountain giving the wildlife no where else to go in the winter. But one place they are welcome is at "this is the place heritage" park, as you can tell by the many tracks in the snow there.

Those tracks are also leading down to roads where many deer have been killed in the past week. Police are asking motorists to slow down, especially at night while the deer are still coming down to find food.

Officials say you can protect your shrubs by wrapping them in burlap. You can also put a small wire fence around the trunks of your trees to protect the bark.

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