White Buffalo baiting still causing controversy
The question from island resident Doug Michele during the Monday, March 3 Town Council meeting, was simple: “Are they still baiting?” The “they” was White Buffalo, the non-profit company hired by the state Department of Environmental Management to reduce the deer herd on Block Island.
The answer from First Warden Kim Gaffett may have been equally as direct. “Yes,” she said — but that answer also sowed some confusion because two questions quickly rose. Two island residents, Chris Blane and John Willis, said they had seen White Buffalo putting out corn meal as recently as Sunday, March 2.
Councilor Chris Warfel asked why White Buffalo was permitted to bait on private property even, as Gaffett said, it was done with the owner's permission?
Islander Chris Blane asked if the town was being charged for the time spent baiting?
The ensuing discussion disclosed that a representative of White Buffalo, the DEM and possibly the Nature Conservancy (this was not confirmed) were found baiting for “research purposes” on Sunday. Gaffett said the town would not be charged for the time White Buffalo had spent baiting. Gaffett also said she thought the most recent round of baiting was finished. The deer cull was called off after White Buffalo requested that it be cancelled. It was scheduled to begin Feb. 24.
Gaffett also announced that a small contingent from Block Island, which included herself, Town Manager Nancy Dodge and town solicitor Kathy Merolla, are scheduled to meet with representatives from the DEM on Thursday, March 13, on the mainland.
Full details on this and other stories will appear in the Friday edition of The Block Island Times.