Email this articleE-mail this story  Discuss this articleWrite letter to editor  Discuss this articleOrder a classified ad
Rare find on Belcher Islands

Harry Leggs
Northern News Services

Iqaluit (Apr 01/02) - A long-forgotten reference to a "black and white weasel-like rodent" referenced in the Carnegie Museum diaries of Kenneth Doubt, mammalogist who studied wildlife on the Belchers in 1938, suddenly surfaced in real life this winter.

A raging academic controversy has arisen in this tiny hamlet of 730 and textbooks may have to be rewritten.

South Dakotan varmint-hunter Denile Takaualu, working on a McCarthy Grant, travelled to the islands hoping to find traces of the long thought extinct species, Scancus oderiferous, the arctic skunk.

Within a day, Big D, as he is known to his friends, caught whiff of the skunk at the northern part of the island.

As glaciation retreated, the arctic skunk moved north, but due to its tender meat and ease of capture, it was eliminated by early societies.

Due to the many isolated islands around the Belchers, this species managed to survive but probably has a small population.

The arctic skunk can not stand high-pitched sounds, and any shriek or even banging of pots and pans is enough for the skunk to bury its head between its paws allowing a person to approach it easily.

Big D ties musical symbols to his knees and bangs them together.

This allows his hands to be free as he approaches and seizes the animal.

Several hunters are trying to use it to capture seals, but without success, although it is a good dinner bell out on the land.

Minnesota, the skunk capital of North America, has taken an interest in the find and will launch a mission to find the specific islands with the arctic skunk, and capture some for breeding in the USA.

"People will think this story smells and is just an April Fool's joke." Denile told the editors.