Weekly newspaper of Three Rivers, California, and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks

A Three Rivers resident recently removed a dead badger from the highway, an animal not often seen in this region, even when alive. (Click arrows for additional photos.)

Rare Roadkill

Badger killed on Highway 198 near Lake Kaweah
Sarah Elliott


Sadly, roadkill is a common sight in Three Rivers. Speed is the biggest culprit, of course, on the state highway that cuts right through the center of town. This roadway and other arterial byways must also be crossed by animals who often end up at the wrong place at the wrong time.
On Friday, Nov. 23, George Kulick of Three Rivers was kind enough to stop along Highway 198 in the vicinity of Slick Rock Recreation Area to move a dead animal off the road. What he found was a mammal that he had never seen before, even though he was raised in Three Rivers and spent a career working for the U.S. Forest Service.
The deceased animal was a badger. Badgers belong to the mustelidae family that also includes skunks, weasels, minks, and wolverines.
In developed portions of the San Joaquin Valley, the badger has been greatly reduced or altogether exterminated, chiefly because of the large holes that it digs in the ground. The badger is a beneficial species, however, as its favorite foods consist of rodents such as ground squirrels and gophers, most of which happen to be harmful to agriculture and home gardens. Badgers also reside in the High Sierra.
The badger is a digging animal. Its body is thickset and muscular with stout, short legs. The claws on all the feet are large with those of the forefeet being especially long and heavy.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife wants to be informed of badger sightings (George did file a report). The badger is a “Species of Special Concern” in California, the agency says, and CFW is attempting to map the current distribution. 
Although badgers are still widely distributed in California, they may be comparatively uncommon or absent from some areas where they historically occurred. Badgers are primarily solitary, although breeding pairs and family groups are sometimes observed.