Marmots May be Gone from Barren Islands

Jay Barrett, KMXT – Kodiak

The marmots of the Barren Islands may be no more. Hunters and trappers hired by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were on Sud Island in the Barrens this year trying to do away with the introduced species. There were similar efforts on an island east of Akutan and another west of Adak trying to do away with other invasive critters.

Steve Delahanty is the manager of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge in Homer.

It’s important to follow up next year, because rabbits breed like, well, rabbits, and could quickly repopulate the small island.

Steve Ebbert is the wildlife biologist for the refuge.

Hunting and trapping on Poa had to stop because the seabirds, whose habitat the refuge was trying to maintain, returned. That’s also why the effort didn’t get off the ground on nearby Tangik Island. Both are just east of Akutan.

An even larger effort to eradicate foxes from Kanaga Island, just west of Adak, was also undertaken this year. The foxes were stocked there by the Russians when they owned Alaska. Delahanty says even though they’ve been there for a long time, they are still considered an invasive species.

The refuge contracted with the United States Department of Agriculture – Wildlife Services Division, to conduct the eradication efforts. Some of the hunters and trappers employed were from Alaska, and others from out of state.

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