Badgers, skunks to F&G: Thanks but no thanks to island plan

The Skunks and Badgers leave island with pelicans.

The plan to introduce skunks and badgers to an island in Eastern Idaho’s Blackfoot River Reservoir so that they would prey on pelican eggs has failed because the skunks and badgers have left the island.

Badgers, skunks to F&G: Thanks but no thanks to island plan.
By JOHN MILLER – Associated Press



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  1. Virginia Avatar

    This is hilarious! Good for the skunks and badgers!

  2. Barb Rupers Avatar
    Barb Rupers

    Hopefully the badger slipped its collar and survived after swinning from the island. Considering the larger area all these animals normally utilize it seems a bit cruel for IFG to have placed them on such a tiny island.

  3. Linda Hunter Avatar

    I have to say that even though it failed it was cool to see them thinking outside the poison and shooting box and trying something different. Even a failed experiment is a good way to learn things.

    1. mikarooni Avatar

      My understanding was that they weren’t “thinking outside the poison and shooting box” originally. Their first ideas were actually to trap or shoot the adults or oil all the eggs, essentially the equivalent of poisoning/suffocating the chicks in their own eggs; but, pelicans are federally protected and the feds wouldn’t let them. So, they came up with the idea of just releasing predatory wildlife on the island, which isn’t technically illegal for them to do. The point is that Idaho did try something different, but only in such a disgustingly perverted and diabolical way as to prove that Idaho really never thinks out of the box and really never changes …at least not so far. Sorry to pop your bubble.

  4. Cody Coyote Avatar

    I’ve never seen either a skunk or a badger swimming in open water, but I’d like to…

    Why watch that silly “Lost” show when you’ve got this instead ?

    I presume that IFG knew the varmints would eventually make their way off the island, but only after they gorged on Pelican eggs first . But perhaps I presume too far.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Cody Coyote,

      I assume IDF and G will probably put some more skunks and badgers back on the island.

      I think (not quite sure) that the pelican population was a bit slow to show up.

      Then too, we have to worry about these small predators eating the eggs of other birds and waterfowl.

  5. Angela Avatar

    I hope they lose the damn collar. It’s ridiculous that they are killing native nongame wildlife to get around regulations protecting another species. If the pelicans are protected, it seems as if it should be against the law to carry egg predators to their nesting habitat. It sets a bad example for the public in terms of wildlife laws too–hey, why not just try to get around the law? Maybe Mark could take some first graders on a field trip to the pelican colony and tell them it’s an easter egg hunt.

  6. ken Fischman, Ph.D. Avatar
    ken Fischman, Ph.D.

    There is more to this story. If I remember correctly, IDF&G first decided to kill pelican populations at Blackfoot River Reservoir in response to fisherman complaining that pelicans were eating “their” fish. Does this sound familiar? Just substitute the word wolves for pelicans.

    The USFW would not allow this & used very harsh language in condemning the idea. USFW to the rescue? Will wonders never cease! In dealing with wildlife agencies, I suppose that every thing is relative.

    This is the same mentality that has now motivated IDF$G to deputize outfitters to kill wolves in Lolo because elk #s are down. Never mind that #s were down prior to wolves coming into that area. They have to molify their constituents, the hunters.

    This sort of “management” will not stop until Idahoans become educated in the interdependence of wildlife & their ecosystems, and IDF&G are given a better mission, so that their constituencies become diversified beyond hunters & fishermen.

  7. Cody Coyote Avatar

    Facetiousness aside now, I honestly want to commend the Idaho Fish and Game for attempting to implement ecological adaptive management of wildlife , instead of just calling Wildlife Services or their proxies to come kill the undesirables, the ” expedient solution”.

    If only IFG would do ecological adaptive management across the board… hint, hint.

    p.s. Wyoming, too. Especially Wyoming….

  8. Mike Avatar

    Funny story.

    I too would like to applaud IFG for trying something that actually is low-impact to the ecosystem.

  9. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    The old saying applies here, “Your Damned if you do and your Damned if you don’t!”


Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

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Ken Cole