NEWS
02/28/2018 12:38 EST | Updated 03/02/2018 04:23 EST

Icy plunge blamed for deaths of three bison in Yukon: conservation officers

HAINES JUNCTION, Yukon — Conservation officers in Yukon have unravelled the mysterious deaths of three apparently healthy bison.

The remains were found in a remote valley northeast of Haines Junction and conservation officer T.J. Grantham says it appears the three slipped on a buildup of ice on a hilltop.

He says the bison were among a herd that started moving down a hill covered in snow and ice that was nearly an inch thick.

Marks in the snow reveal the entire herd likely skidded down the hill, but the unlucky trio was swept over another drop.

Grantham says they plummeted a further 300 metres to the bottom of the hill. 

They careened through trees as they fell and Grantham says the animals probably died of internal injuries.

While such accidents probably occur from time to time in nature, Grantham says it has piqued the interest of biologists.

"I can say it's rare for us to encounter it in the field," Grantham says, adding that scientists don't often get a chance to document such events. (CKRW)