Mama black bear, 3 cubs killed by poisonous shrub

Published 7:12 am Friday, December 23, 2016

WEST WYOMING, Pa. (AP) — Game commission officials say a poisonous ornamental shrub likely killed a black bear and her three cubs found dead on a church parking lot in northeastern Pennsylvania.

The bears were found on the lot of St. Monica’s church in West Wyoming, Pennsylvania, on Dec. 6.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission says the bears ate the leaves and seeds of an English yew plant before they died. The plant is highly toxic to people and most animals if ingested.

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Game Commission veterinarian Justin Brown says he’s not aware of another case of black bear deaths from yew poisoning.

Officials say the 300-pound sow and her cubs were known to frequent populated areas, where yew typically grow, and the bears were likely foraging for food.

They say the bears likely died suddenly.