The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing a plan to eradicate hoary marmots from one of the Barren Islands north of Kodiak, and European rabbits from a pair of islands near Akutan. All three islands are uninhabited, save for the furry little mammals, and the native bird populations. It’s those birds which the service hopes to help by removing the marmots and rabbits.
Steve Delehanty is the manager of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. He says the marmots were likely introduced to Sud Island in 1930.
— (Eradicate 1 37 sec "At the time there was … positive wildlife response.")
The rabbits were also introduced to Poa (po-ah) and Tangik (tan-gick), decades ago. They are two small islands east of Akutan.
Delehanty says while the rabbits and marmots are not directly killing seabirds or eating their eggs, they are changing the habitat for the worse:
— (Eradicate 2 34 sec "Well, it’s two different … that bird fails to reproduce.")
Delehanty says no poisons will be used in eradicating either the rabbits or marmots:
— (Eradicate 3 22 sec "We have to time the … both trapping and shooting.")
The comment period for the proposed plan is open until February 10th:
— (Eradicate 4 21 sec "There’s a lot of information … do we not proceed.")
If Delehanty decides to proceed, the hunting and trapping of the hoary marmots and European rabbits from the three islands could begin this spring. The Fish and Wildlife Service has more information on its website, Alaska Maritime dot FWS dot gov.