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Sales of Ada the elk ‘R.I.P.’ t-shirts make bank for Boise animal rescue organization

A tombstone for Ada the Elk

Boiseans came together in April to memorialize Ada, the elk that spent her last days in Boise. Neighbors collaborated on a project to sell Ada memorial t-shirts as a fundraiser for Animals in Distress, a local rehab group.
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Boiseans came together in April to memorialize Ada, the elk that spent her last days in Boise. Neighbors collaborated on a project to sell Ada memorial t-shirts as a fundraiser for Animals in Distress, a local rehab group.

Remember Ada, the elk that wandered into Boise’s North End earlier this spring? The sight of the wild ungulate in the city inspired a swell of community spirit.

One neighbor, Jeannie McCarthy-Jaggi, decided to capitalize on that spirit for a good cause. She enlisted the help of local designers Billy Fox and Dave Green, then worked with a local printer Angie Coble to transform those designs into memorial t-shirts devoted to Ada.

The Boise Co-op, Idaho River Sports, Java in Hyde Park and Hyde Perk, all sold the shirts. They sold out within a few weeks and raised $1,000 for Animals in Distress. The nonprofit cares for orphaned or injured wild animals and returns them to the wild when possible.

Mady Rothchild, one of the founders of the 30-year-old group, said it typically helps over 3,000 birds and mammals each year with an annual budget of $100,000.

“Since Ada was a mammal, the donation will probably go for mammal food,” said Rothchild.

That might include powdered formula for baby raccoons or rabbits which costs around $84 for a five-gallon tub. Animals in Distress goes through that much formula each week, she added.

McCarthy-Jaggi said organizing the t-shirt project and benefiting a worthy cause was “a delightful experience.”

The elk appeared in the North End in early March, likely driven from her home in the Foothills in search of food after the harsh winter. During the weeks she spent in Boise, she charmed neighborhood residents who named her “Ada.” When her health failed, Fish and Game officers made the decision to euthanize her on March 17. Judging from the condition of her teeth, wildlife biologist Michelle Kenner estimated that she was between 16 and 20 years old. That’s older than the average elk whose lifespan is typically in the 12- to 15-year range.

Neighbors held a small memorial for the elk at the community garden, one of her favorite spots, on April 5. They placed a small tombstone made by Billy Fox at the site.

Read more recollections of Ada on The North End website managed by Dave Green.

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