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

Skunks, badgers enlisted to control Idaho pelicans

Is this a violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act?

After being told by the US Fish and Wildlife Service that their plan to oil the eggs of nesting pelicans amounted to an eradication program, the Idaho Fish and Game has proceeded to introduce skunks and badgers onto Gull Island in Blackfoot Reservoir to eat the eggs or harass the birds. This seems to violate the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and amounts to a “taking” of migratory birds.

Gary L. Burton, Acting State Supervisor for the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Office of the USFWS, in an email states that the office “has not issued any authorizations or approvals for this release.”

We have written about this previously
Idaho F&G plan to kill pelicans hits obstacles July 1, 2009
Pelicans in Idaho versus Yellowstone Cutthroat — rare bird versus rare fish? May 16, 2009

Skunks, badgers enlisted to control Idaho pelicans
Associated Press

Badger and Pelicans © Ken Cole

Badger and Pelicans © Ken Cole

Rare pelicans to be “managed” (killed) in Idaho

Notice: for those who want to comment on this, the comment period has been extended until noon on May 12, 2009.  You can also provide oral testimony to the Fish and Game Commission the evening or the 13th. The Fish and Game Commission meeting begins at 7:00PM in the ISU Student Union Bldg – Big Wood River Room.

-When the state of Idaho (and other western states) express the need to “manage” a wildlife species – that usually perks the ears of wildlife advocates in the state.  That’s because “manage” is so often a word used to soften the state’s real intention – i.e. the intent to ‘kill’ wildlife.  Ralph and many others note this is particularly true with wolves and we’ve seen it with bighorns and others.

White Pelicans Fishing

White Pelicans Fishing

So how about pelicans ?

F&G Seeks Comments On Pelican Management Plan

Pelicans are a “critically imperiled” species in Idaho occurring in two colonies located on Blackfoot Reservoir and the Minidoka National Wildlife Refuge.  Unfortunately :
2009 Draft Pelican Management Plan(page 1)

In some areas, pelicans predominately forage on abundant populations of nongame fish resulting in non-consequential or acceptable impacts. However, in some areas pelican predation is measurably impacting native trout populations and recreational fisheries resulting in resource conflicts.

Read the rest of this entry »

Pelican vs. trout: Idaho F&G’s still out

There was an increase in the number of the huge white pelicans in Idaho in 2007, although the number of nests is down this year.

These are not common, nor widespread birds, but some anglers (mostly reservoir anglers) want them destroyed, even though they eat far more trash fish than trout.

Once again, we face the problem that the state widlife department relies on money from birds, mammals and fish that people take.

Pelican vs. trout: F&G’s still out. The agency is considering a plan that could call for destroying eggs from some pelicans, which anglers say are devouring trout. By John Miller. AP.



White Pelicans on Chesterfield Reservoir in eastern Idaho.
Photo copyright Ralph Maughan. July 2008