The officials from the Pennsylvania Game Commission have found out more about the poisonous plant that killed a family of bears. A female and three black bear cubs died after eating an English yew this month. The botanists say that this plant is highly poisonous, especially if it’s ingested by humans and animals. The English yew was found near the back parking lot of St Monica’s Church located in West Wyoming.
The four black bears died shortly after consuming the plant. Some residents found them in the parking lot and immediately called the authorities. According to the botanists, this poisonous plant is widely spread across the United States as it can be found in the courtyards of many Americans.
The authorities and the wildlife officials were puzzled at first because they had never come across such an incident. Bill Williams, one of the game commission officials, says that the investigators accounted for every type of poisoning, including ethylene glycol usually found in rat poisoning, pesticides, and anti-freeze.
Williams adds that the locals have poisoned black bears before, often because they were upset that the animals intruded on their property. The investigators doubled their efforts and finally discovered that the family of black bears was killed by an English yew.
According to Williams, this poisonous plant is not endemic to this area. The English yew was imported from Europe decades ago, and people started using as an ornamental plant. Due to the fact that it didn’t belong to the black bear’s habitat, the animals were not aware that the plant was highly poisonous.
Worse, the English yew is the most poisonous during the winter months. Although the females and her three cubs were supposed to be hibernating, the wildlife biologists say that they were still feeding heavily.
The botanists believe that the four animals died in a matter of minutes because they had consumed a large amount of English yew. It is the first time the wildlife officials run into such an incident. Williams says that he has never heard of black bears dying after eating yew plants. He adds that even the books say nothing about it.
Some residents are worried that their children might accidentally ingest the poisonous plant. The fruits of the English yew look like berries. Nevertheless, the botanists say that the plant is potentially dangerous for humans only if they ingest the seeds.
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