Fur Takes Major Hit Due to Coronavirus


This is a very difficult and challenging time for us all. However, there is a silver lining to the coronavirus.

In mid March, just days before the event was to begin, we watched, waited and advocated for the cancellation of the largest wild fur auction house in North America.

Almost 500,000 animal pelts were in the preliminary listing for sale in Toronto at the Fur Harvester’s (FHA) March Auction.

On March 16, as TFMPL was preparing to step it up, Canada, in response to the coronavirus, responsibly closed their doors, basically to non-Canadians, thereby forcing the cancellation of the Fur Harvester’s March auction.

The major purchasers of fur from our North American wildlife are China and Russia. Italy, Greece and South Korea are also players in the fur trade.

Why is this so significant?

In the fall of 2019, the 350 year old North American Fur Auctions, (NAFA), with proclaimed roots to Hudson Bay company, recognized as the world’s largest producer of wild fur, announced they would no longer be selling wild fur. In a letter to trappers, NAFA said their banking partners had decided to get out of the fur business. The names of the banks were not provided. According to the NAFA CEO, “the entire industry is still facing an unprecedented market correction and no sector is immune, including the auction houses.”

The Fur Harvesters Auction claimed NAFA’s problems were due to ranch fur and had nothing to do with wild fur. The cost for the production of ranch fur is now about double the profit. The prediction has been that the demand for wild fur would rise as the ranch fur market decreases.

Fur Harvesters Auction were provided a virtual monopoly on wild fur sales. Trappers were assured they would still get their money at the Fur Harvester’s auction. Some in the fur business actually give monetary advances to trappers.

The Fur Harvester’s Auction states, “The global fur market is always set at the International Auctions.” They go on to advise trappers “as the last remaining wild fur action house on the continent, the market will not be set until the conclusion of our March 24th /26th 2020 auction”. Now that has been cancelled. Postponed.

An expert told us all these pelts over time go stale reducing their value.

Even though, we know trappers say the number one reason they trap is for fun, trapping is market driven. With the downturn of fur prices over the years, trapping has been on the downward trend, too! Some have said it simply isn’t worth it anymore or is becoming more cost prohibitive. Heaven forbid!

*Photo courtesty: Montana Trappers Association Western States Fur Auction Feb 2018

You may be surprised to know in the past, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks responded to low bobcat prices by increasing their quota in order to spark interest again in trappers. Nowadays, bobcat remain one of the more lucrative animals to trap and kill. However, the days of recent highs of $1,000 for a bobcat pelt are a rarity. The bobcat average price has also dropped $200 to an average of $300 – $400.

Unfortunately, the popularity of coyote trim jackets, courtesy of Canada Goose, has caused coyote pelts to rise as well as the persecution on them.  This is further exacerbated in places like Montana where coyotes can be trapped, killed by any means, year round, unlimited, no annual $28 trapping license required of residents and no reporting either. This, of course, is reinforced by the powerful livestock industry. There were 50,000 coyotes at this cancelled auction, alone. These were just the ones accepted for sale. Many, probably most, are not. Western coyotes are the favorites.

Locally, fur auctions in Montana and fundraisers to embrace trapping have been cancelled due to the coronavirus restrictions.
Saga Furs, owned by the Finnish fur industry, just attempted to sell millions of ranch fur online and failed miserably. They are now claiming they are laying all staff off for three months.

We can’t help but wonder with this pandemic and the upcoming widespread financial ramifications to come, who all will wind up buying furs? Add to that the growing fashion designers, stores, cities, and states ending the selling of fur.

Prior to this year’s auction, the trapper owned Fur Harvesters, wrote, “FHA remains deeply committed to the trappers of North America on all levels.” Well we know that but now we’ll see.

Not long ago the fur industry was still estimated at $15 billion! 50,000 animals on average are reported trapped annually in Montana but along with the price of fur, that number has been declining. Millions of wildlife nationally have been estimated trapped in the US each year.

There are so many wrongs with trapping that there are multiple ways to attack it! We need your help though!

In this scary and uncertain time, we can’t wait to see the bottom fall out of this blood money! It can’t happen soon enough, friends!

*Images are the courtesy of Fur Harvesters Auction unless otherwise noted.

Thank you Friends of Trap Free Montana Public Lands and Trap Free Montana

Dog’s paw caught in trap at Silver Spring Township park


SILVER SPRING TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) — A Sunday stroll turned scary for a pup named Sully after a trap snapped on his paw while he was climbing back onto the banks of the Conodoguinet Creek during a walk with his owner in Hidden Creek Park.

“It’s a small, about hand-size trap. I’m not a trap expert, but it looks like it’s for a small animal,” said Silver Spring Township Police Chief Christopher Raubenstine said.

Luckily, Sully isn’t exactly small and didn’t break anything from the trap, but a trap at all triggers worry.

“Our concern, obviously, is for everyone’s safety, whether they’re four legs or two,” Raubenstine said.

The township spent the next couple days on paw patrol, sweeping the park and found no other traps — just more questions about how it got there.

“This could be anything from a simple mistake to what they think is legitimate, to somebody with malicious thought,” Raubenstine said.

Despite the why, trapping is still not legal on public property. Traps have to be registered, which would have led to the offender immediately but the evidence was washed away.

“A passerby helped the owner free the dog and out of anger, disgust — whatever — threw the trap out of the creek,” Raubenstine said.

Whether it was an honest mistake or demented deed, police are monitoring the situation.

“We just want to make sure it’s a one and done thing, and we don’t have to worry about it again,” Raubenstine said.

If you have any information about how the or why the trap was placed, you’re asked to call Silver Spring’s non-emergency line at (717) 697-0607.

Minnesota put on notice over incidental trapping of lynx

The group believes that Minnesota is not following the Endangered Species Act.

An environmental group has put the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on notice that it plans to sue the agency for failing to protect Canada lynx from trappers.
The Center for Biological Diversity filed a 60-day notice on Wnesday as required by federal law before it can file a lawsuit to try to force the state to follow the Endangered Species Act. The notice says the state has failed to comply with a 2008 federal court order that’s meant to protect lynx from being caught by trappers seeking other species.
The group says state and federal agencies have documented captures of 16 lynx over the past decade in traps that were set for other species in northern Minnesota, including six that resulted in deaths of the rare cats.
The center cites a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report that puts Minnesota’s Lynx population at between 50 and 200. The DNR says the number present at any given time is not known, but genetic analysis in recent years has identified nearly 100 individual lynx in the state.
DNR Deputy Commissioner Barb Naramore said her agency believes it’s in “full compliance” with the Endangered Species Act and the 2008 court order.

Gallatin County communities rally around cat found suffering from possible trapping


Vet says “Trapper” may have to lose both legs
Posted: 7:21 PM, Nov 27, 2019
Updated: 1:24 PM, Nov 28, 2019

A cat caught in a man-made trap in Gallatin County is bringing out the best of the community.

“When animals are left to their own devices, you never know what they are going to get themselves into,” says Dr. Holly Cruger, DVM at Foothills Veterinary Hospital.

It all started with the little guy, found on a back porch off of Thorpe Road near Belgrade, dragging his back legs.

“He came in, he had some pretty open wounds that looked like he was tied up or trapped on his back legs, which is where I think we got the name, Trapper,” Dr. Cruger says. “Tiny Tails has taken on this case to do everything we can to make sure that he’s got the best chance he can have.”

A Gallatin County Animal Control officer took the cat to Foothill Veterinary Hospital in Bozeman, where he spent the night.

“One of the infections was so deep, I did not think that it would even have the chance to heal,” Dr. Cruger says.

And that surgery? Already, the cat has had to lose one of his legs.

“He’s in better shape today than he was yesterday,” says Diana Stafford, director and founder of Tiny Tails K-9 Rescue in Manhattan.

Stafford and her volunteers are working to help build Trapper’s road to recovery.

“We try to do our best to make sure that our community animals get health care when they need health care,” Stafford says.

Diana’s group is made up of all volunteers, working to foot Trapper’s medical bill.

But the community, well, the cat’s story reached them quickly, raising around $1,500 in a single day.

“Our community is amazing,” Stafford says. “We do a lot of crying. All of our volunteers do. There’s only so much we can do.”

The veterinarian watching over Trapper says he has a difficult road ahead and could lose his other rear leg.

Yet, Stafford, Dr. Cruger and the community are rooting for him.

“If you see an animal in need, please, please tell someone,” Dr. Cruger says.

“Everybody loves an underdog and this little guy, this little cat is right now an underdog,” Stafford says.

Tiny Tails is already planning a series of fundraisers to help animals like Trapper with their own financial needs.

You can find a full schedule and list of upcoming events on their website.

Fisher, marten trapping season later this year

The Minnesota season for fisher and marten trapping is later than usual this year. (file / News Tribune)
The Minnesota season for fisher and marten trapping is later than usual this year. (file / News Tribune)

A reminder to trappers that the Minnesota season for fishers and martens has been moved a few weeks later than usual. The season previously started the Saturday after Thanksgiving, but this year is set for Dec. 21-29.

The limit is two combined. The first registration date is Dec. 31.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wildlife officials said the change was supported by the Minnesota Trappers Association.

Dogs caught in traps meant for wildlife spurs workshop

JACKSON, Wyo. — Multiple incidents of domestic dogs inadvertently caught in leghold traps intended for wildlife has local advocacy group Wyoming Untrapped warning dog owners and scheduling another informative Trap Release Workshop for this weekend.

Last week, a friend was walking Natalie Tanaka’s dog Roswell up Darby Canyon. They came upon a fox that was caught in a trap. While investigating, Roswell also became ensnared in another trap nearby. Roswell was so panicked he bit his human, who could not get the trap released. A sheriff’s deputy was called and he could not get the dog loose by himself until backup arrived.

Some 45 minutes later, Roswell was freed and pronounced mostly unharmed by a local vet. Just some soft tissue damage. Roswell’s human friend is undergoing antibiotic treatment for the dog bites.

“I appreciate the assistance of all of those who helped. I’m thankful my pup will be okay,” Tanaka told Wyoming Untrapped. “I understand rural life. However, I don’t believe in the inhumane treatment of animals. Traps are nasty, excruciatingly painful, and slow. The tortured animal has to be in pain for days before humans are legally required to go see what’s in the trap. We can do better than this barbaric practice.”

The trap was set legally.

In the days following Roswell’s close call, two more dogs in eastern Idaho were caught in leg snares in Tetonia and Victor.

Lisa Rob, director of Wyoming Untrapped, said, “Due to several pet trapping events in just a week, WU has received several requests to host another Trap Release Workshop.”

The workshop will take place Saturday, November 23, from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. at the Teton County Library in Jackson. Carter Niemeyer, retired Fish and Wildlife Director of the wolf recovery, will direct the workshop and share his experiences. He will demonstrate how to release an animal from a variety of traps.

Born Free USA Applauds Reintroduction of Bill Banning Dangerous Traps on National Wildlife Refuges

Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act reappears in U.S. House of Representatives, is backed by leading animal protection organization


WASHINGTONNov. 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Born Free USA, an internationally recognized leader in animal protection and wildlife conservation, announced today its strong support of the recent reintroduction of the Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The bill, championed by Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY), chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, would prohibit the use or possession of all body-gripping traps within the 150 million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System. These traps include steel-jaw leghold traps, Conibear traps, and strangulation neck snares.

“By their very design, body-gripping traps are cruel, dangerous and indiscriminate,” said Angela Grimes, CEO of Born Free USA. “Their brutality cannot be overstated. As our two undercover investigations have shown, traps inflict severe stress, pain and suffering for any animal who steps into them—including endangered species and beloved pets. Born Free USA applauds Chairwoman Lowey for her strong leadership to end this cruelty throughout the National Wildlife Refuge System.”

The mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System is to be an inviolate sanctuary for our native wildlife, yet thousands of animals are trapped in these cruel devises on our refuges every year. Children and family pets are also put at risk every time they visit one of the 177 refuges that currently allows trapping.

“Body-gripping traps should have no place in our National Wildlife Refuges,” Lowey said. “The Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act would ban from public land these violent traps, which endanger wild animals as well as the millions of visitors who enjoy our nation’s 566 refuges each year. It is past time we ensure the entire National Wildlife Refuge System is safe for animals and families alike. We must restore the true meaning of ‘refuge’ to the National Wildlife Refuge System.”

Once in a trap, animals suffer in agony for hours or even days. In addition to the excruciating pain inflicted by the trap, trapped animals are also exposed to extreme stress, environmental elements, dehydration, starvation, and predation, with no chance of relief or escape.

Born Free USA urges other members of Congress to join with Congresswoman Lowey to support this important legislation.

For more information about Born Free USA, visit https://www.bornfreeusa.org.

About Born Free USA
Born Free USA works tirelessly to ensure that all wild animals, whether living in captivity or in the wild, are treated with compassion and respect and are able to live their lives according to their needs. As a leading wildlife charity, Born Free USA opposes the exploitation of wild animals in captivity and campaign to keep them where they belong – in the wild. The organization promotes Compassionate Conservation to enhance the survival of threatened species in the wild and protect natural habitats while respecting the needs and safeguarding the welfare of individual animals.

Rep. Lowey Reintroduces Bill To Ban Traps In Refuges

  NOV 17, 2019

New York Congresswoman Nita Lowey has reintroduced a bill that would prohibit body-gripping traps in the National Wildlife Refuge system.

Lowey, Democratic chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, reintroduced the Refuge From Cruel Trapping Act Friday, that would ban from public land traps where animal endure hours or even days of pain. Lowey says that, each year, thousands of bobcats, otters, foxes, beavers and other wild animals are trapped in this manner across the nation’s refuges. She says more than 50 percent of the 566 refuges allow trapping. Steel-jaw leghold traps; conibear traps: and neck snares would be banned if the measure is enacted. Lowey says it’s time to restore the true meaning of “refuge” to the National Wildlife Refuge system


Footloose Montana hosts trap-release workshop

trap stockimage

A trap-release workshop will be presented from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30, at St. Anthony Parish Center, 217 Tremont St.

Learn what to do if your pet steps in a trap, learn first aid, hands-on trap release practice, trapping regulations and what to carry with you to rescue your pet.

Sponsored by Footloose Montana, a nonprofit group educating concerned citizens about traps on public lands. Call 406-282-1482 or visit footloosemontana.org.

‘Sickening’: Golden eagle spotted near royal family’s Balmoral estate with illegal trap attached to legs

‘Absolutely clear this incident is a result of criminality’, says RSPB, as focus on raptor persecution increases at start of grouse shooting season

The golden eagle was seen flying over the village of Crathie, which borders the edge of the Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire

The golden eagle was seen flying over the village of Crathie, which borders the edge of the Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire ( Police Scotland )

golden eagle has been photographed in Scotland flying with a trap dangling from its legs.

The bird was spotted over the Aberdeenshire village of Craithe, close to the royal family’s Balmoral estate in the Cairngorms National Park.

Police have launched an investigation alongside the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) after the tourist who took the picture reported it.

The photograph shows the bird hovering with the trap clamped around its talons and a chain hanging from it.

The type of traps are regularly seen in the illegal trapping of birds of prey on grouse moors, which cover around 20 per cent of all land in Scotland.

RSPB Scotland’s Head of Investigations Ian Thomson told The Independent: “This picture of a golden eagle with a trap on its leg is sickening.

“There is no way a bird of prey could become caught in a legally set trap and as such it is absolutely clear this incident is a result of criminality.

“There have been a number of incidences where birds of prey have been caught in similar traps resulting in fatalities and we are concerned for the fate of this bird if it is not caught soon so it can receive veterinary treatment. We urge the public to report any sightings to the police.”

Close-up showing the trap dangling from the bird’s talons (Police Scotland)

He added: “This kind of trap is used widely on grouse moors. Just a few years ago there was a case in the same area as this golden eagle has been spotted where a number were deployed illegally to target birds of prey.”

Police Scotland’s Sergeant Kim Wood said: “We would encourage anyone who has information which could help to locate this eagle to contact the police on 101.”

Grouse shooting is under increased focus as the season opened on 12 August and numerous naturalists and conservationists have called for an independent review into the impact of the practice.

A petition to ban driven grouse shooting – in which 500,000 grouse are shot dead a year – has reached 25,000 signatures.

The petition was created by BBC presenter and naturalist Chris Packham who told The Independent last month that in addition to illegal targeting protected species including birds of prey, gamekeepers on grouse estates legally target and kill “hundreds of thousands” of animals a year, including stoats, weasels, foxes and mountain hares in an effort to protect the grouse, which are then shot.

According to The Telegraph, the royal family’s annual summer grouse shoot was cancelled at Balmoral this year due to a shortage of birds, it said was due to “extreme weather and an outbreak of heather beetle,” which it said had impacted amounts of heather available for the grouse to consume.