The elk were trying to cross the reservoir from the north side when the ice broke in four places.
RICHLAND, Ore. — Officials say dozens of elk are dead after the herd fell through the ice at a reservoir in eastern Oregon.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said in a Facebook post that 41 elk died Tuesday on the Powder River arm of Brownlee Reservoir.
Someone who lives near the reservoir called to report the incident, according to a report from The Baker City Herald. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Biologist Brian Ratliff told the newspaper the elk were trying to cross the reservoir from the north side when the ice broke in four places.
Officials drove to the area to see if it was possible to save any of the elk or salvage meat, but Ratliff said neither option was possible.
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The reservoir is about 260 miles east of Portland.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said on its Facebook page that eastern Oregon is “experiencing a real winter this year” after several years of drought.
“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,” the post said.
The department also said all but four of the elk were dead when officials arrived at the reservoir, but it was unsafe to rescue them.