Wednesday, May 05, 2010

WDNR Finally Earns It Pay

Looks like the WDNR can finally do something they are paid to do. 

From JSOnline.

"By Meg Jones of the Journal Sentinel

Posted: May 4, 2010 |(56) Comments

Badgers are nocturnal and spend much of their lives digging and living in holes, so just what Wisconsin's state animal was doing at the downtown Milwaukee post office Tuesday morning is anyone's guess.

Night shift workers returning from a meal break around 5 a.m. were surprised - OK, shocked - to see a large badger wander in an open garage door at the post office's vehicle maintenance building.

The badger waddled in and took the first left, which led down a small hallway, ducked into an office, decided it didn't want to stay there, walked back into the hallway, looked around and then scampered through the next open door, which happened to be the men's locker room. Officials are unsure if indeed the badger was male.

The furry, striped creature sporting sharp claws took refuge underneath a locker, occasionally hissing at workers but otherwise seeming to be content, even though it was past its bedtime. Barricades were put up and only workers who had to get car keys or uniforms were allowed near the lockers.

Though other animals have been found in the maintenance facility, located directly north of tracks leading to the Amtrak station and the Menomonee River, this was the first time anyone could remember seeing a badger.

"The face is so distinctive. It was like, wow, it's a badger," said John Patrick, supervisor of vehicle maintenance.

A lifelong Wisconsinite, Patrick has worked at the post office for 29 years and can recall muskrats, opossums and a bald eagle finding their way in to the postal facility. But not a badger. The workers nicknamed it Stamper.

Employees first called Milwaukee police and were told police didn't handle badgers. Then they called the Humane Society, which didn't open for a couple of hours. They tried Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control but were told that badgers were not domestic animals. Then they called the Department of Natural Resources.

Warden Nick Blankenheim has been assigned to Milwaukee County for 3 1/2 years and normally handles calls for illegal fishing, chemical or garbage dumping and car-killed deer. But a wild badger stuck in a men's locker room? That was a first." Badger enters new frontier at downtown post office - JSOnline

"When people left it alone in the corner it was calm and just wanted to be left alone. At the point when we started chasing it out of there it was making some growling noises and hissing noises," Blankenheim said.

Blankenheim decided not to put the badger into a cage because they can be vicious and it would have stressed the animal. Besides, its burrow was likely nearby and since the females have given birth to kits by now, it's possible the post office's badger simply wanted to return to its family.

After a runway with plywood and office furniture was set up, the badger was coaxed into leaving the locker room. Blankenheim carried a shovel while a postal worker wielded a broom to shoo it out the door. It fled past white postal trucks parked outside the maintenance facility and into an outdoor storage area, where it hung out near stacks of tires for a while before wandering away, presumably back to its home in the ground.

Yep, a shovel works everytime.

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