Japanese Yew

Tatters / Flickr Creative Commons

A popular but toxic landscaping plant blamed for more than a hundred wildlife deaths over the last two winters isn’t going to be listed as a noxious weed.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Toward the end of Table Rock Road in Boise, Bob DiGrazia points to a ridge a few hundred yards away.

“It was on January 5th I walked up here," he says. "And I could see birds and coyotes over here. Like coyotes on one carcass,  six to eight [of them].”

DiGrazia is a hunter and he often comes to this spot to just watch elk on the ridge grazing in the winter. That January day, he could see dead elk on the ground in distance. At first he thought poachers were to blame.

He called Idaho Fish and Game and a conservation officer came up right away.

Keith Kohl / Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife via AP

Antelope injured while falling on ice. Horses stranded in snowy mountains. Cougars descending from their wilderness lairs to forage in a town.

It's been a beastly winter in the American West, not just for people but for animals too. One storm after another has buried much of the region in snow, and temperatures have often stayed below freezing, endangering a rich diversity of wild animals.