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Multiple elk killed, euthanized after being hit by vehicles in Salt Lake City

Posted at 9:55 AM, Feb 01, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — A large herd of elk made a return appearance to Salt Lake City's east bench on Wednesday, once again causing traffic headaches along Interstate 80.

Unfortunately, two of the elk were hit by vehicles and killed, while two others were injured after being hit and had to be euthanized.

The Utah Department of Transportation warned drivers just before 9 a.m. that the herd was near the I-80/I-215 interchange. The herd later split, meaning not all the elk were being protected by traffic control.

Video showed the elk walking along I-80 before crossing the highway and heading east of Foothill Drive.

Eventually, the herd made it above Foothill Drive and made it to the top of the mountains, but officials said there may be a few stragglers and advised residents to use caution.

Video below from UDOT cameras shows the herd gathering near I-80

All roads and highways have since returned to being fully operational at 9:30 a.m.

The group that went near the highway is part of a larger herd on the Salt Lake Country Club. They are being kept on the course and away from roadways.

The elk that were euthanized will be donated to Utahns through the Game Meat Donation program, according to Faith Heaton Jolley with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

"It is common for elk, deer AND moose to migrate to lower elevations during the winter months when their food sources are covered by snow in the mountains. Due to the significant snowfall this winter, we are seeing an increase in the number of big game animals migrating into cities," Jolley tweeted.

With warmer temperatures next week, it's hoped the herd naturally migrates back into the foothills.

The incident recalled a similar situation last Thursday where another large herd of about 60 elk forced delays along I-80 during rush hour traffic.