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N.J. Officials Want To Know Fate Of Skunks

AVALON, N.J., Dec. 28 (UPI) — New Jersey wildlife officials said they want to know what a borough mayor means when he says skunks are being put into “witness protection.”

Avalon Mayor Martin Pagliughi declined to reveal what his borough is doing with relocated skunks after it stopped taking them to the Tuckahoe Wildlife Management Area when Upper Township Mayor Richard Palumbo complained in 2009, The Press of Atlantic City (N.J.) reported Wednesday.

“Within the last year we’ve taken about 80 skunks off the island. We’re trapping them and putting them in the witness protection program. We don’t know where they’re going,” Pagliughi said.

However, officials with the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, which controls the relocation and euthanasia of wildlife in the state, said they want to know where the skunks are going.

“They do not have a permit and they should not be removing them,” said Larry Ragonese, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection. “They don’t have the right to relocate a species. They have to talk to the Fish and Wildlife folks to assess that.”

Ragonese said the borough has the right to relocate the skunks within its own borders, but the mayor has made it clear the skunks are being taken off the island.

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