Bear activists: Using snare trap for research is cruel

WEST MILFORD — Several bear activists are condemning the state Department of Fish and Wildlife for their use of snare traps to capture bears for research purposes after a West Milford resident, on her evening bike ride, found a bear cub screaming and tugging after it had been captured.

“It was horrifying; it’s just torture,” said Shari McAtee, who was riding her bike around 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8, when she heard a loud noise. She investigated and about a half mile into the woods on Schoolhouse Road she found the cub, which she estimated weighed about 40 pounds. McAtee video recorded the distressed bear on her cell phone, showing it pulling on the cable attached to its leg that had been tied about three feet away on a nearby tree.

“I had no idea what was going on. We are near Clinton Road, so I was thinking maybe this was some sort of horrible joke or worship of some sort,” McAtee said.

McAtee said she called 911 and a few friends who are fellow bear activists.

Her friends and two West Milford police officers arrived along with a security guard with Newark’s Pequannock Watershed area, which encompasses portions of Morris, Passaic and Sussex counties. The police officers removed the restrained bear from the tree, McAtee said, but the cable remained on the bear’s leg.

McAtee said everyone dispersed after the bear was released from the tree — still with the cable attached to its leg — but on Monday morning around 8 a.m., she returned to the site and found the cub caught in some brush and crying.

Around 11 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 9, she saw DEP staff come out to the scene, tranquilize the bear and release the trap from its leg, McAtee said.

Caryn Shinske, a spokeswoman with the state Department of Environmental Protection, said via email that the department was notified the bear had been released so DEP staff went to the site, tracked the bear and captured it. They removed the cable, tagged the bear and released it unharmed, she said.

The division, she said, is “investigating” the bear’s release from the restraint but she did not go into further detail.

Shinske told the New Jersey Herald that Division of Fish and Wildlife staff check traps at least once every 24 hours, but may check sooner if a report comes in of an animal capture.

But McAtee believes keeping a bear tied up for 24 hours, or what she thinks may be more, is torture.

“What if someone tied your leg to a tree and you tried moving back and forth and had no idea what was going on with no food and water?” McAtee said.

The Aldrich foot snare is the main method used by the state for trapping and tagging bears, about 150 to 200 in a given year, Larry Herrighty, director of the Division of Fish and Wildlife, told the New Jersey Herald last year. The device, which consists of a spring-activated foot snare, is typically placed in a hole and covered with leaves and then fastened to a steel cable, which usually is attached to a nearby tree to hold it in place.

McAtee said the trapped cub’s mother was nearby on Sunday, along with another young bear, both of whom were “pacing around,”

While Herrighty told the New Jersey Herald in the interview last year that snares are always accompanied by signage to warn would-be hikers or passers-by of the trap, McAtee claims she did not see one.

″(The Division) is torturing these bears, trapping them and leaving them there,” she said, adding that if the division puts out snares, they should be watching them at all times and be right there when a bear is caught.

While she doesn’t believe New Jersey “has the population to hunt bears,” she does think there could be better alternatives to control the bear population, such as contraceptives.

In a statement released Thursday, the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance, a self-described grassroots coalition of outdoorsmen, condemned the actions of McAtee and her fellow bear activists, including Angi Metler, who is the director of the Animal Protection League of New Jersey, for “interfering” with the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s research.

“This is a great example of how violent anti-hunting extremist organizations interfere with valid and badly-needed scientific research,” said NJOA spokesman Cody McLaughlin, “On the one hand, extremists harass Division Of Fish and Wildlife scientists while performing their essential research and promote a ban on traps that assist the division in such research.”

The state, in addition to testing the bears for ticks and various other diseases, uses the ratio of tagged bears taken during the annual hunt as a gauge of hunter success rates and to guide its ongoing bear management programs.

McAtee, however, says there is “no justifiable science basis to study bears for the purpose of hunting.”

Manitoba trapper sorry after cougar caught in snare

Gerry Sherman found the endangered animal in a snare near Gilbert Plains, Man. last week

The cougar was pulled from the trap sometime between Dec. 28 and Dec. 31. (Supplied)

A Manitoba trapper is sorry a rare and protected animal species was caught in one of his snares.

Gerry Sherman went out last week to check his snares in Duck Mountain Provincial Forest near Gilbert Plains, Man., and at first thought he snagged a wolf. But when he got closer, he realized it was something else — a cougar, a rare species that used to live in Manitoba but was driven out of the province.

“I wondered what I was supposed to do because I knew it was a [protected] species,” Sherman told CBC. “The proper thing that I came up with was take it out of the snare and take it home and once I got home I called Manitoba Conservation.”

Sherman is a registered trapper and uses the provincial forest, which borders Duck Mountain Provincial Park, with permission.

He said a pair of Manitoba Conservation officers came and picked up the animal on New Year’s Day and were very understanding about the whole ordeal.

“I am really sorry that it happened,” Sherman added. “Nobody likes to catch endangered species.”

“I am really sorry that it happened” – Gerry Sherman 

Bill Watkins is a wildlife biologist with the province. He confirmed the wild cat was caught sometime between December 28th and 31st.

“It’s what we refer to as bycatch,” he said. “There’s no way that a trapper could control the animals that wander into the trap. It was set for wolves so everything is completely legitimate.”

Watkins said that while the find was concerning, it could be a sign that the cougar population is recolonizing Manitoba. The animals were very rare in the province up until about six years ago.

Now, there are two to three sightings per year. A sign, according to Watkins, that they could be repopulating. The latest estimates pegged the population in Manitoba at fewer than 50.

Sherman said it’s the first time he’s heard of a cougar being caught in the Duck Mountains. He believes the animal will be stuffed and put on display at the Duck Mountain Interpretive Centre near Minitonas, Man., once it’s been inspected by a biologist.

“It’s a magnificent animal,” he said. “Anyone destroying these animals at will should be punished. On an accidental catch like this there is really nothing anyone can do.”

Not the first time

It’s the second time in just months that a cougar has been accidentally caught in Manitoba.

A female cougar was caught and killed near Boissevain, Man., on Nov. 21.

Watkins, at the time, said it is possible that the animal wandered up from North or South Dakota.


Smart Mountain Gorillas Have Learned How to Dismantle Poachers’ Traps

Researchers working in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park in 2012 witnessed just how intelligent mountain gorillas are when they observed them dismantling traps laid by poachers.

Only days after a young gorilla died after being caught in one of these snares, two four-year-old gorillas were filmed working together to disassemble similar traps.

“This is absolutely the first time that we’ve seen juveniles doing that … I don’t know of any other reports in the world of juveniles destroying snares,” said Veronica Vecellio, gorilla program coordinator at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s Karisoke Research Center. “We are the largest database and observer of wild gorillas … so I would be very surprised if somebody else has seen that,” Vecellio added.

Rangers patrol the forest daily, removing snares in continued efforts to protect the critically endangered mountain gorillas. It was on a routine patrol in 2012 that tracker John Ndayambaje saw two juvenile gorillas: a male named Dukore and a female named Rwema, rapidly destroy two traps.

“Young Dukore and Rwema, as well as Tetero with a black back, ran to the trap and destroyed together the branches used to hold the rope,” said Vecillio. “They saw another trap nearby and, as quickly as before, they destroyed the second branch and pulled the rope to the ground. They were very confident. They saw what they had to do, they did it, and then they left.”

Snares are a common occurrence in the national park, home of the mountain gorillas, and although they are intended to catch antelope and smaller species, they can also ensnare the great apes. Adult gorillas can generally free themselves, but a younger animal may not be so lucky, as seen in the case of an infant named Ngwino who died from injuries after being caught in such a snare – she had dislocated her shoulder trying to escape and developed gangrene from open wounds where the rope cut into her leg.

The gorillas observed on this occasion are a subspecies of the eastern gorilla: Gorilla beringei beringei. There are only an estimated 680 mountain gorillas left in the wild, in two separate small populations, so every life is precious.

B.C. veterinarian wants 2,900-km wildlife death trap removed

Collapsed, 100-year-old Yukon Telegraph line believed to be killing moose across north

  •  Feb. 27, 2018 9:30 a.m.
  • A B.C. veterinarian hopes public anger over an illegal spate of wildlife snaring in the northwest will invigorate her mission to eradicate a much larger, potentially deadlier threat to wildlife.

“This is an underdog problem. It’s not a popular cause like animal abuse and neglect, but it’s a clear case of animal cruelty without anyone being deliberate or intentional. It’s just a consequence of what humans have left out in the wilderness.”

Dr. Veronica Gventsadze is speaking about the 100-year old Dominion Government Telegraph Service line, a network of five-millimetre iron cables snaking through 2,900 kilometres of wilderness from Ashcroft, B.C. to its termination point in Dawson City, Yukon. Known as the Yukon Telegraph, this logistical marvel of its time connected the gold fields of the north to southern Canada.

The line was abandoned in the 1940s and 50s as wireless technology advanced.

But the galvanized cable was of such high quality it still shows no sign of corrosion or breakage today. As the original poles collapse, and trees topple, the cable either sags to the forest floor or lies in tangles beneath moss and foliage, creating a perfect trap for moose and, further north, caribou.

“A bull moose crashes through the forest with his antlers, and that’s it. That’s how he gets around,” Gventsadze says. “There must be a tremendous amount of anguish not being able to free himself [from the wire], possibly lying there exhausted, hungry—he’s live prey for a bear. The wire is like nothing found in nature, so the moose not having a chance to escape or protect itself is a completely unnatural situation.”

The Squamish-based veterinarian began a grassroots campaign to see the line removed in June, 2016, during an otherwise-regular visit to her Rosswood cabin in the Nass Valley, near Terrace. Her husband was picking lobster mushrooms when he stumbled across a one-kilometre stretch of the fallen line. He counted the corpses of three moose in varying stages of decomposition, she says.

“This is grizzly bear country, so the moose will be dragged off pretty quickly. We don’t know how many have been there before.” Since her husband’s discovery Gventsadze has found other sites along the Stewart branch of the telegraph service.After being told last year there was very little Conservation Officers Service could do in the matter, Gventsadze contacted the Terrace office again last month upon reading news reports of a prolific and intentional snaring operation in the Kitimat River Valley, which the COS is still investigating.

Speaking to Black Press at the time, CO Sgt. Tracy Walbauer said evidence of dead moose, grizzly bears, wolves and coyotes had been found in the illegal snaring.

“Those animals observed in the snares endured a great deal of suffering before death,” Walbauer said.

READ MORE: Public’s help sought in cruel and prolific animal snaring

READ MORE: $1,000 offered for conviction of snaring culprit

Based on photographs, Gventsadze is certain the snare wire was cut from the telegraph line. She says she also once found a snare intentionally fashioned directly within a tangle of telegraph cable on the ground. Though of minor concern compared to the thousands of kilometres of unintended hazard to wildlife, the snaring connection she says only deepens the telegraph’s deadly post-use legacy.

While a remediation project of this magnitude does not fit within the budget and mandate of the COS, CO Zane Testawich told the Terrace Standard he hopes to offer some community-level support in the spring, possibly by organizing a cleanup of the Rosswood site identified by Gventsadze’s husband.

In the meantime, neither provincial or federal departments have returned Gventsadze’s calls of who is responsible for remediation.

Andrew Gage, staff counsel with West Coast Environmental Law, says finding a legal avenue to force remediation will be difficult on a project initiated by the fledgling Dominion Government in 1899. Political pressure may be the only way forward, he says.

“These sites do get cleaned up where there’s particular health concerns and public outcry over them, but there’s a lot that don’t get cleared up without that pressure.”

Gventsadze admits the costs of a remediation project on this scale would be large, but hopes elected officials will see it as an employment and skills-training investment for northern communities.

This was the case in Northwest Territories, where in 2015 a program partially sponsored by the federal government led to the removal of 116 kilometres of telephone wire from a Second World War pipeline project in the Mackenzie Mountains, along what’s now the Canol Trail. The program was renewed the next year, and a further 126 km of wire was removed, along with 27 racks of caribou antlers tangled within it, according to Northern News Services. The project was completed in January this year, seeing 80 tonnes of wire remediated from more than 350 kilometres of terrain. Indigenous and Northern Affairs said a key element of the program was to provide local workers with training in project management, field operations and occupational health and safety.

In Yukon Territory, the Carcross Tagish First Nation spearheaded the Southern Lakes Wire Recovery Project in 2015. In this case, the wire belonged to the same Yukon Telegraph line at the centre of Gventsadze’s concern.“It is still a very unrecognized problem,” she says. “But once people start talking about it, others will probably come out of the woodwork who have been making local efforts to remove these lines themselves.

“Just because we can’t witness these moose suffering and dying, it doesn’t make their deaths any less acceptable.”

Dr. Gventsadze has set up a petition for the cleanup of the Yukon Telegraph line at

Los Angeles Bans Animal Traps that Grip or Snare

In a victory for animal rights, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to ban traps that grip or snare foxes, coyotes, and other such animals in the city, labeling such traps as inhumane.


The new rule disallows commercial trappers from using any traps that grip or snare the animals in any way. However, such traps can still be used for mice, rats, and other small rodents.


Cage traps that utilize a locking door can still be used by commercial trappers, which will allow many to stay in business.


The city’s Department of Animal Services will also create measures that ensure locking door traps are not used inhumanely, in instances such as keeping a locked animal caged for hours in summer heat.


Wildlife protection groups applaud the decision, saying that the banning of such traps will prevent suffering and it will keep other animals safe.


The impetus behind banning such traps was the fact gripping or snaring devices often do not actually kill the animal, but leave it to suffer.


In addition to eliminating suffering, banning such traps will ensure that pets are not accidentally injured or killed by snare or grip traps.


Trapping groups in Los Angeles did not offer any public comment on the ban, however, the president of a local wildlife management service told city council earlier in the year that revolving door traps are not an efficient way to catch coyotes.


Animal rights group around the country, including PETA, offered support for the ban, which may prompt other cities in the United States to propose such bans in their respected councils.




1.        Bill S548   Senator Skelos  518 455-2800 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 518 455-2800 FREE  end_of_the_skype_highlighting – Ask him to Defeat
2.       Senator Klein    518 455-2800 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 518 455-2800 FREE  end_of_the_skype_highlighting Ask him to Defeat  
b.   Speaker Sheldon Silver   518.455.3791 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 518.455.3791 FREE  end_of_the_skype_highlighting   Ask him to please  DEFEAT this bill A9137.
c.    Assembly Member Robert Sweeney   Chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee Assembly Member Robert Sweeney  518.455.5787 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 518.455.5787 FREE  end_of_the_skype_highlighting Ask him to DEFEAT  bill  A9137.
Memorandum of Opposition to: A9137
Dear Assembly member…..
Bill A9137 allows the use of snares in trapping. An animal caught in such a device would struggle to escape by instinctively lunging forward, thus tightening the snare and causing its suffocation or loss of consciousness.  If the animal recovers from a loss of consciousness, it would repeat the process again and again. If used underwater to trap beavers it would bring about a slow agonizing death by drowning.
Either conscious or unconscious, the animal would be unable to fight-off or escape  predators.
It is an extremely cruel way to remove animals from an area. The device is not selective as to species, and many unintended species- including threatened species — as well as domestic animals, are subject to torturous destruction by those devices.
Hunters frequently use snares of this type of live-capture snares to train their dogs on live animals:
A “cable restraint” is put to use to train these dogs. Often fox are used to train the young dogs, who then graduate to coyotes.
Coyote hunters use snared coyotes to train their hunting dogs while they are caught in the snare and struggling. The more the coyote struggles, the tighter the snare gets
We believe we speak on behalf of New Yorkers who feel strongly about the humane treatment of all animals and oppose the legalization of these instruments of wildlife torture.

Animal traps that grip or snare are banned in L.A. as ‘inhumane’

Jim Robertson-wolf-copyright

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to ban traps that snare or grip coyotes, bears, foxes and other animals in the city, deeming such traps inhumane.

Under the new rules, commercial trappers cannot use traps that grip or snare any part of the animal, with the exception of traps set for rats, mice and other small rodents. Angelenos are banned from using any trap “that maims or causes the inhumane death or suffering of any animal,” the rules state.

Commercial trappers can still do business using other kinds of traps, which can include cage traps that involve a locking door.

However, the Department of Animal Services will also put forward regulations to ensure that such traps are not used inhumanely — for instance, by leaving an animal caged for a long time in the summer heat.

All traps “can be inhumane through negligent care or use, but snares, bodycrushing and body-gripping traps are inherently inhumane,” a council committee focused on animal welfare wrote in a report. Besides banning snare traps, “the Department is requesting the authority to establish reasonable rules and regulations regarding the use of humane traps and the treatment of the trapped animals.”

Wildlife protection groups say banning snare traps will prevent needless suffering and keep other animals safe. Trapping sounds “safe” to people, but there’s no guarantee that the targeted animal is the one trapped and killed, said Randi Feilich, the Southern California representative for Project Coyote. Pets can also fall victim to the snares, she added.

“If you’ve ever seen an animal trapped in one of these traps, you would never, ever allow them to be used,” said Skip Haynes of the wildlife protection group Citizens for Los Angeles Wildlife.

Animal trapping groups did not speak at the Wednesday meeting, but Dan Fox, president of Animal Pest Management Services Inc., argued in an earlier letter to the council that cage traps were not effective in catching coyotes and that snare traps could be a humane option if used correctly. Experienced trappers consider whether other animals are in the area before setting traps, he wrote.

The new rules “will remove any efficient methods of trapping predator animals, and increase costs for residents without addressing the true issue” — people ignoring the existing rules, Fox wrote.

The ban was first proposed by Councilman Mitch O’Farrell and seconded by Councilmen Paul Koretz and Tom LaBonge.

“Mahatma Gandhi once said … a society can be judged by the way it treats its animals,” O’Farrell said before the Wednesday vote. “Colleagues, banning these cruel and sadistic torture devices to deal with our wildlife is the way to go.”,0,5874191.story#ixzz2yWoFGogR

Jessica Lange to Governon: Halt wolf hunting in Minnesota

by Paul Walsh  September 26, 2013

The actress urges the governor to suspend the next wolf hunting season in the state; he said he can’t.

Jessica Lange

Hollywood actress and “Minnesota daughter” Jessica Lange is urging Gov. Mark Dayton to suspend the next wolf hunting season in Minnesota.

Lange cites the sharp drop in the state’s wolf population following the first of the newly reinstituted hunts last year and adds that hunters do this for no more than sport, fun or trophies.

“Nearly all Minnesotans believe the wolf is an asset that should be protected for future generations,” wrote Lange, who grew up in Cloquet, lived for a time in Stillwater and now counts a place in the woods near where she was raised as one of her homes.

In the letter released Wednesday by the Twin Cities-based advocacy group Howling for Wolves, Lange said the state’s reauthorization to resume the hunting of wolves was rushed by the Legislature and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) “to cater to particular groups, who for years had been clamoring for the chance to kill wolves.”

Dayton responded in a written statement, pointing out that he does not have the power to halt the hunt.

“Since Ms. Lange no longer lives in Minnesota, it is understandable that she is not familiar with all of the considerations in the Legislature’s decision to establish a wolf hunting season in Minnesota,” the statement began. “That decision was written into law; thus only the Legislature can change its terms.”

Maureen Hackett, founder and president of Howling for Wolves, said that Lange “contacted us and asked what she could do … to be of help to the wolf.”

Hackett said having Lange’s support for her group’s effort to halt the hunt is beneficial because “she’s a Minnesota daughter, so to speak … and lives in wolf country.”

The number of wolves that hunters can kill in Minnesota this fall will be slashed nearly in half, from 413 a year ago to 220. Also, only 3,300 hunters and trappers will be given permits this year to kill wolves, down from 6,000. The early season runs from Nov. 9 to Nov. 24.

The licensing reductions follow a survey last winter that estimated the state’s wolf population at 2,211 — a 24 percent decline from 2008, but a figure that didn’t include this year’s surviving pups.

In that first season since wolf hunting resumed in Minnesota, Lange contended that more than half of the wolves killed were less than 2 years old and almost a third were less than a year old.

“They were not problem wolves,” her letter said. “They were not in conflicts with people, livestock, or domestic animals. They were just wolves living wild and free in our North Woods.”

The state’s recent announcement of a nearly 25 percent drop in Minnesota’s wolf population “should compel action,” she said. “We haven’t had this few wolves in our state since 1988.”

Lange, whose Minnesota property is within one of the wolf hunting zones, also went after the “cruel methods” used to hunt and trap wolves, referring to “metal leg-hold traps that crush limbs, wire choke snares that cause painful brain bleeding, and bait like food and the calls of wolf pups in distress that lure adult protectors to their death.”

How Low Will You Go, Montana?

Why is it that snares are acceptable for wolves, but when an eagle  dies in one the USFWS offers a $2,500.00 reward?


From Defenders of Wildlife:  Wolf-haters in Montana have introduced a bill to legalize a long list of deplorable acts.

This bill, SB 397 would:
•Allow wolves to be choked to death in neck snares, killed in traps and hunted for 10 months of the year, including during breeding, pregnancy, denning and pup-rearing seasons;
•Make it legal to lure wolves into traps using dead wolves – including dead pack and family members; and
•Allow an unlimited amount of wolves to be killed in a given season.
If this bill passes, it will be legal in Montana to use snares to choke a wolf to death and then leave its body out as bait to try to kill more wolves in its pack.

You have to ask — Who does that?

Only the Beginning

The Montana assault on wolves is not an isolated incident. It is only one facet of a well-funded, highly-coordinated and unrelenting effort by wolf-haters to significantly reduce the number of wolves and strip federal protection from most of them in the lower 48 states.

Just last week, anti-wolf lobbyists in Washington DC secured 72 Congressional signatures on a letter to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe demanding that wolves in the Lower 48 be completely delisted under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

It was a chilling show of force by the anti-wolf lobby, and a reminder of what we are up against. Montana is a textbook case of what can happen when wolf management is turned over to a state that is politically dominated by anti-wolf interests.

Thanks to you and thousands of other wildlife lovers, the “kill wolves lobby” can be stopped, but make no mistake – we are in the fight of our lives for America’s wolves.

Our team is working long hours in Montana, across the Northern Rockies and here in Washington, D.C. to:
•Organize and mobilize local activists to fight appalling state measures like SB 397;
•Provide expert testimony at legislative hearings – these measures are not only reprehensible, they are based on politics, not science;
•Garner support for wolves on Capitol Hill. More than 50 members of Congress signed a letter demanding continued federal protection for wolves; and
•Mobilize online support from hundreds of thousands of people like you. Those letters, calls and emails do make a difference!

I won’t lie. We’re up against formidable foes who will stop at nothing to open America’s wolves up to unconscionable assault.

USFWS Offers $2500. in AK Eagle Snaring Case

Snaring claims 2 more innocent victims! From the USFWS:

March 26, 2013

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement is
investigating the death of two golden eagles near Chickaloon, Alaska. A
reward of up to $2,500 is being offered for information leading to a
conviction of the person or persons responsible for killing the eagles.

The eagles were discovered in the Anthracite Ridge area northwest of the
Chickaloon-Knik-Nelchina Trail along Purinton Creek. The eagles were found
lying dead on top of a bait pile of meat that was surrounded by snares used
by trappers. Evidence at the scene suggests the eagles were caught and
killed in the snares while trying to get at the meat in the bait pile. One
of the golden eagles was an adult female and the other was an immature male.

Golden eagles are the largest raptor in North America and range from Mexico
to Alaska. Golden eagles may live up to 30 years in the wild and sometimes
mate for life. Golden eagles are mainly found in mountainous regions and
eat small mammals, birds, fish, and carrion.

Golden eagles are protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and
the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, both federal wildlife statutes. Violations
of these statutes carry maximum criminal penalties of up to $100,000 and/or
one year in federal prison.

Anyone with information concerning these eagles is asked to call the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement in Anchorage at (907)