Lawsuit Filed to Protect Canada Lynx from Trapping Deaths, Injuries in Maine

https://awionline.org/content/lawsuit-filed-protect-canada-lynx-trapping-deaths-injuries-maine

Monday, August 17, 2015

Lawsuit Filed to Protect Canada Lynx from Trapping Deaths, Injuries in Maine . Photo by Carl Robidoux.AUGUSTA, ME—Wildlife conservation and animal welfare organizations filed a lawsuit today against the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for allowing trappers in Maine to seriously injure and kill Canada lynx, a federally protected cat. Plaintiffs include the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Wildlife Alliance of Maine (WAM).

Each year Maine trappers targeting coyotes, foxes, mink and other furbearing wildlife seriously injure and kill Canada lynx, one of the rarest wild cats in the United States. Because lynx are protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the state cannot authorize such “incidental” harm to lynx without an incidental take permit issued by the USFWS. Today’s lawsuit challenges the USFWS’ permit issued to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife last year, which was intended to cover the state’s trapping programs.

“I’m outraged that endangered lynx continue to needlessly suffer and die in cruel traps,” said Collette Adkins, an attorney and biologist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “A few commonsense changes could prevent most of this suffering, but the Service refuses to require Maine’s trapping programs to make those changes.”

The lawsuit argues that Maine’s trapping programs violate both the ESA, which requires that harm to lynx be minimized and mitigated, and the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires a proper analysis of environmental impacts.

“Sickening reports of lynx deaths and injuries, as well as an unknown number of unreported incidents, show that the state and feds are doing a haphazard job providing lynx the protections required under the law,” said Daryl DeJoy, executive director of WAM. “We hope that this lawsuit brings necessary changes to Maine’s trapping programs that will help ensure the lynx’s survival in Maine.”

The challenged permit allows, over the next 15 years, for three trapped lynx to be killed, nine to suffer severe injury and require rehabilitation before release, and 183 to suffer so-called minor injuries and be immediately released. Since the permit was issued in November 2014, trappers have already reported killing two lynx and capturing more than 20 others. More have likely fallen victim to traps, as the USFWS has stated that 75 percent of trapped lynx are not reported.

“As has unfortunately become commonplace within the USFWS, the agency’s biologists advocated for greater protections for the lynx, only to be trumped by agency administrators,” said DJ Schubert, wildlife biologist at AWI. “The USFWS must protect lynx from the suffering and death inherent to trapping with steel-jaw devices and not capitulate to a state agency more interested in a handful of trappers than the protection and recovery of the lynx.”

The organizations object to the use of body-gripping Conibear traps, snares and steel-jaw leghold traps in areas where lynx live. Conibear traps, for example, snap shut in a lethal grip, killing lynx in Maine on numerous occasions; but the USFWS’ permit does not require simple exclusion devices that could be effective in preventing lynx deaths. Today’s lawsuit also challenges Maine’s plan for mitigating harm to lynx, which largely relies on lynx habitat management, even though the USFWS’ own biologists found that the amount of mitigation habitat would be too small to offset the harm to lynx.

“Instead of enforcing the law, the USFWS caved by failing to require the measures needed to protect Canada lynx,” said Doug Ruley, an attorney with the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic at Vermont Law School.

Plaintiffs are represented by the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic and local counsel.

###

Media Contact:
Amey Owen, Animal Welfare Institute, (202) 446-2128, amey@awionline.org

About the Animal Welfare Institute
The Animal Welfare Institute is a nonprofit charitable organization founded in 1951 and dedicated to reducing animal suffering caused by people. AWI engages policymakers, scientists, industry, and the public to achieve better treatment of animals everywhere—in the laboratory, on the farm, in commerce, at home, and in the wild. For more information, visit www.awionline.org.

About the Center for Biological Diversity
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 900,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places. For more information, visit http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/.

About the Wildlife Alliance of Maine
The Wildlife Alliance of Maine is dedicated to advocate on behalf of Maine’s wildlife and to promote a conservation ethic that represents non-consumptive wildlife users. For more information, visit http://www.wildlifealliancemaine.org/.

Ban the Trap

Action Alerts – Need Your Help Today

 

July 25, 2015

 
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Dear (Contact First Name),

 

Social Compassion in Legislation has launched a “Ban The Trap” billboard and social media campaign in support of an upcoming vote by the California Fish & Game Commission.  The vote is on August 5, 2015 and would prohibit bobcat trapping state-wide. And yes, it IS still legal to trap bobcats for their fur in California, most people do not realize that this is the case.

 

Here are some of the facts:

  • Trappers setup their traps on private property.
  • Trappers stalk the Internet for people posting where bobcats were seen.
  • Trappers get $600-$1000 for their pelts.
  • California has not counted their bobcat population since 1970!
  • Trappers take an estimate of over 14,000 bobcats per year, but really no one knows how many.
  • California bobcats, once trapped, are shot in the head and skinned for their fur which is then sold and sent to China, Russia and Europe, where demand has sadly increased.

When SCIL was alerted that this lifesaving vote was pending, we wanted to make sure your voice can be heard! We hope you will take action.  We do not want to miss this opportunity to make history for our native bobcats. They are Californians too, and are desperately counting on your support.  Please take action TODAY!

Please help bobcats by contacting the Fish & Game Commission before Tuesday, August 4th:

Email  fgc@fgc.ca.gov  Call (916) 653-4899 Fax (916) 653-5040

 

Twitter:  @CaliforniaDFW @JerryBrownGov #BanTheTrap

Please tell them you Support Option #2 “Complete Ban” on bobcat trapping.  Let’s end this barbaric practice in our state.

 

*** If you are a member of the press, we will be holding a press conference Monday morning – July 27th.  We will have a special guest and new information.  Please consider covering our press event, and contact me for more information.  We will send out a press release Monday afternoon with our news.

Here is a link to the Proposed Regulations.
http://www.fgc.ca.gov/regulations/2015/478ntc.pdf 

 

Billboard
We would like to thank our donors and billboard participants:  Diane Warren, Gloria Butler, Dr. Jenn Mann, Alexandra Paul, Matt Raimo, board members: Katie Cleary & Simone Reyes. Also, we want to thank Michael Roud for donating his time and his talented photography services.

  

Billboard location sites are:

Los Angeles -Santa Monica Blvd. and Kelton facing west.

Sacramento -5 Freeway south Richards Blvd.

URGENT: Help Ban Bobcat Trapping in CA & Set a National Precedent!‏

ban-bobcat-trapping-banner
  TrishCarney-Bobcat-VR 2

In less than a month the California Fish and Game Commission will vote whether to make California the first state in the nation to ban bobcat trapping.

Together we can do this- but we need your help! With a few simple actions you can help end this needless killing.

As Governor Brown recently appointed two new Commissioners (Eric Sklar and Anthony Williams who replaced Michael Sutton and Richard Rogers), it is all the more important that these Commissioners hear from you on this issue- and from your friends, family and colleagues. They need to know how many Californians and visitors to California care about wildlife and don’t want to see bobcats trapped for fur.

In 2013, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the Bobcat Protection Act (AB 1213) into law. Originally intended to ban bobcat trapping statewide, the legislation was then amended and weakened by the pro-trapping industry. Now the Commission is developing rules to implement this Act and thanks to former Commissioner Richard Rogers, the Commission is considering a complete ban on commercial/recreational trapping of bobcats (“Option 2”).

Please join Project Coyote in supporting Commissioner Rogers’ enlightened and compassionate proposal. We have a unique opportunity to protect California’s bobcats from the insatiable international fur market where individual bobcat pelts can sell for more than $1,000 per pelt.

What you can do:

1- Write to the California Fish & Game Commission and express your support for Option 2 which would end the commercial and recreational trapping of bobcats in California (see talking points below):

Contact:
California Fish and Game Commission
P.O. Box 944209
Sacramento, CA 94244-2090
fgc@fgc.ca.gov

Be sure to include your full contact information in your letter and please cc Project Coyote at info@projectcoyote.org as we are tracking letters submitted to the Commission.

You don’t have to be a California resident to comment. If you reside outside of California, please mention your interest in seeing live bobcats in the wild as a tourist and your willingness to spend money doing so.

2- Join Project Coyote and allies and testify at the upcoming Fish and Game Commission August 5th meeting where this issue will be voted on.

What: California Fish and Game Commission meeting
When: Wednesday, August 5th (agenda to be posted here)
Where: River Lodge Conference Center, 1800 Riverwalk Drive, Fortuna, CA 95540

3- Sign our petition calling on the California Fish & Game Commission to ban the commercial and recreational trapping of bobcats in California.

Join more than 10,000 people who have signed this petition already.

4- CA Residents: Help keep this issue in the public eye by submitting Letters to the Editor to your local paper(s). Use the talking points below and our tips and tools for writing LTE’s.

TALKING POINTS (Please personalize your letter!):

*Express your support for Option 2- the “no bobcat trapping” option.

*The proposed regulatory rules to implement the Bobcat Protection Act would be both complicated and expensive to enforce. A simple ban on bobcat trapping will save the Department money and resources instead of creating a morass of complicated regulations and causing confusion for law enforcement, sportsmen and the public.

*Trapping bobcats is ethically indefensible, ecologically unsound, and economically unjustifiable.

*Trapping bobcats is cruel and unnecessary. Trapped bobcats are generally clubbed and/or suffocated to death (bullets damage the pelt).

*Bobcats are an important native species to California. We should not allow the trapping of our bobcats to feed the growing international fur markets in Asia and Russia where one bobcat pelt can sell upwards of $1,000.

*Fewer than 100 Californians trap bobcats for the fur trade. As stewards and trustees of California’s wildlife, the Commission should not cater to this tiny minority of people who enjoy killing bobcats for fun and profit.

*The value of one live bobcat to the millions who enjoy wildlife watching far outweighs the value of one dead bobcat to one fur trapper.

*As the Commission continues to work toward modernizing predator management statewide, banning commercial and recreational bobcat trapping is a step in this direction.

Thank you for speaking up for wildlife! Watch our video here and be inspired by the voices of youth calling for a ban on bobcat trapping! 

PLEASE SHARE THIS ALERT WITH OTHERS!

Stop the Use of Cruel Animal Traps

Petitioning Chris Christie, New Jersey State House, New Jersey State Senate, David Burke, David Chanda

Stop the Use of Cruel Animal Traps

Petition by Alex Klinger
Carteret, New Jersey
10,972
Supporters

The wildlife of New Jersey needs our help now! The New Jersey Fish and Game Council (NJFGC) just decided to allow the use of inhumane leghold traps, even though they were already banned in 1984! Gov. Christie and the NJ Legislature have the power to ban them again, so we need to speak up and call on them to veto the use of leghold traps as fast as possible, since many of these animals are being trapped inhumanely for their fur right now.

The traps are designed to clamp onto an animal’s leg when it reaches in for food. Once snared, the animal suffers terrible agony until it dies from blood loss or infection, or is killed by the trapper days later. Proponents say the new leghold design is “humane” because, unlike older traps which snare birds, deer, and other animals, these ones require some degree of dexterity, so they’re limited to raccoons and opossums. Just because the traps snare fewer animals, does not mean these animals suffer less. It’s the wrong use of the word “humane.”

Since the 1984 ban, trappers have used box traps, which don’t harm the animal. But trappers argue that box traps are too cumbersome and uncomfortable. Imagine how uncomfortable it is to be ensnared in steel jaws for days on end. Leghold traps have the clamping force to break bones and, historically, animals have been known to chew off their limbs to attempt escape.

The Humane Society spent nearly 20 years and hundreds of thousands of dollars convincing the NJ Legislature to ban the cruel traps in 1984. State officials acknowledged then that they were inhumane, but they now seem to have forgotten.

These traps are just as barbaric as they were three decades ago. The NJFGC’s decision spits in the face of progress, and if we don’t make some noise, they will get away with it. Please join me in asking Gov. Christie and the NJ Legislature to overrule NJFGC’s wrongheaded decision and protect NJ’s wildlife from needless suffering.

Help Make Wildlife Services’ Worst Nightmare Come True

It’s finally happening–the last thing in the world USDA’s Wildlife Services wants!
Members of Congress and their staff have been invited to see our award-winning, whistle-blowing film, “EXPOSED: USDA’s Secret War on Wildlife,” at a special screening and panel discussion in D.C. It will be held:
Monday, June 15, 3:00-4:00 p.m.
2168 Rayburn Building (the Gold Room)
U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C.
The panel discussion after the film will enable folks in D.C. to hear directly from a Wildlife Services’ whistle-blower, a victim, and proponents of reform.  It is our hope that legislation to reform this barbaric, unaccountable, and utterly misnamed predator control program will be introduced by Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) in the coming weeks.
I’ve attached the invitation we sent to the Hill.  Please forward this email to your members, friends, and anyone you think would be interested.  Let them know that this is the film Jane Goodall wants millions to see and urge them to ask their Representative to attend this important event.
I’d like to extend a special thanks to our event co-sponsors, without which it would not have happened:  Representative Peter DeFazio, the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, the Animal Welfare Institute, Born Free USA, The Humane Society of the United States, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
Working together, we can expose the secret war against wildlife being waged on the taxpayer’s dime and hold Wildlife Services accountable at last.
Best,
Brooks

Brooks Fahy
Executive Director
brooks@predatordefense.org
(541) 937-4261 Office
(541) 520-6003 Cell

PREDATOR DEFENSE
Helping people & wildlife coexist since 1990
www.predatordefense.org

Editorial: Veto bobcat hunting bill

http://chicago.suntimes.com/editorials-opinion/7/71/666314/editorial-veto-bill-allow-bobcat-hunting-illinois

Written By Sun-Times Editorial Board Posted: 06/07/2015, 03:39pm
(AP Photo/The Wildlife Center, Alissa Mundt)

If lawmakers can’t tell the different between a saber-toothed tiger, which preyed on elephants and rhinos, and a bobcat, which eats mice and rats, it’s no wonder the Legislature passed a foolish bill to allow bobcat hunting in Illinois.

EDITORIAL

Gov. Bruce Rauner should veto the bill before lawmakers start comparing the shy, elusive bobcats to marauding dragons.

Bobcats have only recently recovered from the overhunting that put them on Illinois’ threatened species list, but they are not back in large numbers. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop the Legislature from voting to allow bobcat hunting again for the first time in 40 years.

One lawmaker during the debate compared bobcats to the fearsome saber-toothed tiger. Another lawmaker called bobcats ferocious. To hear the debate, laments the Humane Society of the United States, you wouldn’t know there’s no record of a bobcat killing a human — ever.

The bobcats, though, are at risk — of being caught in leghold traps that can cause them to suffer for hours or of dying in other painful ways.

The real reason people want to hunt bobcats is because they make good trophies and their valuable spotted pelts can be sold on the international market. That’s not a good enough reason to put the species in jeopardy again. People in other countries can make their mittens out of something else.

At first the House of Representatives voted to reject this law, but then flip-flopped and passed it narrowly. They had it right the first time.

Let’s hope Gov. Rauner knows the difference between a saber-toothed tiger and a bobcat and vetoes this bill.

Your Tax Dollars Kill 7,400 Animals a Day‏

The numbers are shocking. Since 1996, Wildlife Services has shot, poisoned, and strangled 27 million native animals; in 2014 alone, Wildlife Services killed close to 3 million animals. That’s 7,400 animals slaughtered every single day across the U.S.— not by hunters or poachers, but by a little known government agency called USDA “Wildlife Services” whose stated mission is “to resolve wildlife conflicts to allow people and wildlife to coexist.” This killing is done largely at the behest of ranchers and agribusiness. The carnage costs U.S. taxpayers more than 100 million dollars each year.

But we are holding this rogue agency accountable! In response to legal pressure from Project Coyote, the Animal Legal Defense Fund and other allies, Mendocino County, CA officials recently agreed to suspend the renewal of the county’s contract with Wildlife Services pending a full review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). For the first time, this agency’s actions will be assessed under CEQA, requiring public disclosure of the full impact of this program on all wildlife- both target and non-target- and on the environment. Furthermore, non-lethal alternatives must be considered.

Representing our coalition, I am en route right now to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors meeting where I will present nonlethal approaches to coexisting with wildlife. I will speak of our successful model in Marin County – known as the Marin County Livestock and Wildlife Protection Program. It works. Since implementation 15 years ago, livestock losses and costs to the county have decreased; fewer wild species have been killed. Ranchers have embraced the cost-share program that provides guard animals, better fencing and other non-lethal predator deterrents. Joining me is Keli Hendricks, Project Coyote Predator Friendly Ranching Coordinator, who will talk about some of the innovative non-lethal tools and methods we are testing on ranches in Marin and Sonoma County.

Coyote in leghold trap
Mendocino County is re-evaluating its contract with Wildlife Services, the federal government’s wildlife damage control agency. Despite increasing calls for reform, the agency reported killing 61,702 coyotes in 2014.”

Please read this excellent op-ed in the Sac Bee by Lee M. Talbot – Stopping the Slaughter of America’s Native Wildlife, one County at a Time– and help us continue this critical work to stop the killing, reform predator management, and promote coexistence by donating to Project Coyote today. We depend on individual donors to sustain our important work for North America’s wildlife.

donate-button-coyote 2
Because of the generosity of a Project Coyote supporter in Marin County your donation will be matched dollar for dollar up to $12,000. Your donation will go directly toward our campaign to stop the slaughter of North America’s wildlife and to promote non-lethal alternatives to killing. Please help us meet this matching pledge!

Organizations Team Up in the Wake of a Severed Mountain Lion Foot Found in a Trap

Missoula, Mont. (April 14, 2015) – An unlikely alliance between the Bitterroot Houndsmen Association, Footloose Montana, and In Defense of Animals is calling on Montana’s Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP) for more accountability in the management of mountain lions in the Big Sky State after the gruesome and horrific discovery of a severed mountain lions limb in a foothold trap. The alliance is seeking a reduction in the overall quota of mountain lions in the Bitterroot Valley, by counting trap-related injuries and deaths toward the overall hunting quota, and by holding trappers accountable.

The severed mountain lion foot was discovered around March 24 by a resident in the Bitterroot Valley. He reported deep claw marks on a nearby tree, indicating that the estimated four-year-old male lion was desperately trying to seek shelter and escape the source of pain – a foothold trap set for wolves. Thanks to recreational and commercial trapping, this mountain lion is likely dead now, either succumbing to starvation, attack by other carnivores, shock, or a painful infection of the severed limb.

The illegally set trap had no identification tag attached to it, and was placed outside the official wolf trapping season, which ended on February 28.
According to Anja Heister with In Defense of Animals, “At least 15 mountain lions have been reported to FWP as caught in traps specifically set for wolves in addition to other species over the course of two trapping seasons, between 2012 and 2014. Yet, these tragic trapping-related injuries and mortalities do not count toward the overall quota for mountain lions. They are also considered merely “incidental” and go unpunished.”

The FWP Commission meets this Wednesday, April 15 to deliberate the quota for the 2015 mountain lion hunting season and we strongly encourage them to adopt the inclusion of incidental mortalities. “There is no question that the mortality of mountain lions exceeds what the Commission allows,” said Cal Ruark, former president of the Bitterroot Houndsmen Association. “It is time to reconcile the two numbers and reduce the quota, as well as acknowledging so-called “non-target incidents” as what they are – deaths of animals, which, at a very minimum, need to be recognized and counted.”

The Commission must be empowered and do the right thing as a result of this recent disturbing discovery. The maiming and likely subsequent death of this mountain lion is not an isolated incident and the time has come to make bold changes and offer dynamic solutions in order to prevent further animals from suffering the same horrific fate.

Chewed-off Canadian lynx foot--another trapping victim.  Photo by Jim Robertson

Chewed-off Canadian lynx foot–another trapping victim. Photo by Jim Robertson

Cougar Chews Off Foot to Escape Wolf Trap

Photo Jim Robertson

Photo Jim Robertson

I’ve had more than my share of heart-wrenching experiences with the gruesome evils of trapping. On a walk near our home in Eastern Washington, my dog stepped into a leg-hold trap that clamped down onto his front paw, prying his toes apart. He cried out in terror and frantically tried to shake it off, biting at the trap, at his paw, and at me as I fought to open the mindless steel jaws. The trap continued to cut deeper into his tender flesh and my efforts caused him even more pain. Finally, after many harrowing minutes, I was able to loosen the torture device enough for him to pull his foot free.  

Another dog I freed was caught in two leg-hold traps. One was latched onto her front leg, while the second gripped her hind leg, forcing her to remain standing for untold agonizing hours. Judging by how fatigued and dehydrated she was, she had been stuck there for several days. The sinister traps caused so much damage that a vet had to amputate one of her injured legs.  

With no other hope of escape and feeling vulnerable to anyone that comes along, many trapped animals resort to amputating their own leg. Trappers callously label this grim act of despair “wring-off”. Truly, freedom is precious to any animal desperate enough to take this extreme step. But if they don’t bleed to death or die from infection, they spend the rest of their lives crippled and quite possibly unable to keep up with a demanding life in the wild. Unlike the fictional character “Little Big Man,” who was distraught to the brink of suicide when he found that an animal had chewed off its leg to escape one of his traps, most trappers who find a wring-off are indifferent to the suffering they caused as they begrudgingly pitch the chewed-off limb and reset their trap.   

While I was camped near Bowron Lakes Provincial Park in B.C., Canada, in late March, my dog found just such a discarded limb–the front leg of a trapped lynx. In what has to be one of the more deceitful abuses of trust ever, free roaming animals– safely protected within the arbitrary boundaries of parks– lose all such protection and are deemed “fair game” for trapping as soon as they step across an invisible dividing line. Trappers consider the lands adjoining parks the most “productive” and will pay tens of thousands of dollars for permits to run trap-lines in those areas. I’ve had the displeasure of seeing three-legged coyotes near the North Cascades National Park, and within the Grand Tetons National Park.  

Sidestepping the indisputable cruelty issue, pro-trapping factions try to perpetuate the myth that trapping is sustainable. But time and again entire populations of “furbearers” are completely trapped out of an area, often within a single season. The winter after I found wolf tracks in Alaska’s Katmai National Park, all seven members of a pack who had found a niche in and around that preserve were killed–permissibly “harvested”– by trappers. Though wolves are extinct or endangered in most of the U.S., 1,500 are legally trapped in Alaska each year.

The preceding was excerpt from the book Exposing the Big Game,

http://www.earth-books.net/books/exposing-the-big-game

No animal should EVER go through the evil of trapping. And yet, in Montana, the Missoulian just reported that a mountain lion just got caught in a wolf trap: Mountain lion paw in wolf trap upsets Darby ex-houndsman

http://missoulian.com/news/local/mountain-lion-paw-in-wolf-trap-upsets-darby-ex-houndsman/article_1e1f05bc-0ccf-5603-8882-45982cd49763.html

April 11, 2015 8:00 am  •  by

HAMILTON – A mountain lion paw found torn off in a wolf trap has a former houndsman from Darby asking for change in the way the state manages the predator.

A little over two weeks ago, a friend of Cal Ruark’s dropped off the trap with the severed lion paw in it.

Ruark – a former president of the Bitterroot Houndsmen Association and now a mountain lion advocate – said his friend was antler hunting in the Reimel Creek area, east of the Sula Ranger District, when he made the gruesome find.

The man told Ruark there were deep claw marks in a tree near the location of the trap.

“He told me the trees were all tore to hell,” Ruark said. “The drag on the trap was hung up on a tree and there were claw marks on the trees where the lion had stood up on its back legs and tried to climb.”

Ruark is sure the mountain lion didn’t survive.

“It might have been able to get along for a little while, but it’s dead now,” he said. “It can’t hunt on three legs.”

Every year, mountain lions die after being caught in traps set for wolves or other furbearers.

Under the current rules, those dead lions are not considered under the quota system that Fish, Wildlife and Parks uses to manage mountain lion numbers.

Ruark believes that needs to change. He will take that request before the Fish and Wildlife Commission at its regular meeting this month.

***

KC York of Hamilton is leading an effort place a referendum on the ballot that could ban all trapping on public lands.

York said between October 2013 and February 2015, 32 mountain lions were captured in traps set for furbearers other than wolves. State records showed that 21 died, six suffered some type of damage to their paws, but were released and another five were set free unharmed.

“So 84 percent of those mountain lions captured in non-wolf sets were either dead or injured,” York said. “Only one of those trappings was determined to be illegal.”

In the two years that wolf trapping has been legal in Montana, York said state FWP records show that 16 mountain lions were caught in traps set for wolves. Five of those lions died.

York said 96 percent of the trappings were considered legal.

“You can’t legally trap a mountain lion in Montana,” she said. “These trappings are considered incidental. It goes with the territory of trapping in this state.”

Anja Heister, co-founder of Footloose Montana, said no one knows for sure how often a mountain lion loses a paw or toes to a trap.

“It was a horrific sight,” Heister said about the lion’s paw in the trap. “This was an incident that was actually discovered. No one knows for sure how often it happens. Trappers have a term for it when an animal loses a foot or a toe. They call it twist off or ring off.”

***

The Ravalli Republic contacted Montana Trapping Association president Toby Walrath of Corvallis for a comment on this story. Walrath said he would either provide a written comment or a phone contact for someone else in the organization Thursday night. By Friday’s end, the newspaper had received neither.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks regional wildlife manager Mike Thompson said all he could say about the issue at this point is that it was being investigated.

Ruark said he wants people to know about this.

“There are a lot of people who should be angry about this lion caught in a wolf trap,” Ruark said. “Trappers should be mad because it makes them look bad. Outfitters should be thoroughly angry because they get $5,000 a pop from their clients to kill one and now there’s one less to hunt. The fact that it’s not counted toward the quota should make local houndsmen angry, too. Everyone involved should be upset.

“But unless there’s a consequence, it’s only going to get worse,” he said. “It’s not right to ignore it when a mountain lion dies.”

If someone put all the mountain lions that died after being trapped in a pile and took a photograph, Ruark said people would pay attention.

“From my perspective, these incidental kills should be counted,” he said.

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