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Tell U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service To Protect Wolverines

Shine the spotlight on cruel trapping

It was bittersweet news when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) recently announced its intent to list the wolverine as a threatened species due to threats from climate change.

WolverineMost wolverines are hanging on to life in the high mountain ranges in Montana - the only state in the lower 48 that still allows trapping of this rapidly vanishing species.

Montana's Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MTFWP) is not only opposed to protecting wolverines, but the agency is expected to get federal permission to allow trapping of other animals within wolverine habitat once the species is listed.

Needless to say, traps don't discriminate - where they exist, they catch and kill animals regardless of their "protected" status.

Wolverines will fiercely fight for their own survival and to protect their offspring's lives, which is why trappers use spine-crushing traps, or snares, which do the dirty work of slowly and painfully suffocating the animals. Baited traps and snares lure any animal into their tortuous and often deadly grip. A MT study showed that the majority of female wolverines were pregnant at the time they were killed in traps or snares.

What you can do:Speak up in opposition to continued trapping in wolverine habitat!

Contact USFWS today and encourage them to prohibit ALL recreational trapping in wolverine habitat in all states where wolverines still occur, and particularly in Montana. Tell them that you do not tolerate Montana FWP's apparent priority to put the "recreational" interests of trappers ahead of their obligation to protect wildlife.

Unfortunately, comments are being taken only by webform, at this link. So we can't set up an automatic point-and-click letter for you. Instead, please copy the sample letter below, then visit the webform and paste it in, or compose your own copy. Deadline for written comments is May 6.

If you prefer to mail your comments, please send to:

Public Comments Processing
Attn: FWS-R6-ES-2012-0107
Division of Policy and Directives Management
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222
Arlington, VA 22203.

Sample Public Comments Letter:

As a U.S. resident and supporter of In Defense of Animals (IDA) who is deeply concerned about the survival of the last remaining wolverines in the Rocky Mountain States, I thank you for your intent to protect wolverines under the Endangered Species Act.

I understand that Montana's state wildlife agency, the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MTFWP), is opposed to the listing of the wolverines and that the agency wants to continue furbearer trapping within wolverine habitat.

I urge you not to allow this to happen. Wolverines are currently threatened with extinction due to climate change, and also due to recreational trapping, even when they are not targeted. There are a mere 300 wolverines left, with an "effective population" size of fewer than 40 individuals.

Wolverines have huge territories, and as researchers often state, "wolverines are always on the move," which makes them extremely vulnerable to encounter indiscriminate and baited, deadly traps and snares. Studies in Montana have shown that a large number of female wolverines are pregnant when trappers kill them.

Allowing trapping in the habitat of an endangered or threatened species is unethical and contrary to the intent of the Endangered Species Act to prevent further threats to a listed species. Allowing trapping would further threaten the intended and much needed recovery of wolverines in Montana as evidenced by the fact that other listed species, i.e. lynx, are caught and killed in traps every season because Montana allows trapping in core lynx habitat. In recent incidents in Montana, four Golden Eagles were either seriously injured or killed in traps and snares intended for other animals.

In addition, more than 50 "incidental" dog captures, two of which were lethal, and several mountain lion captures in traps set for wolves, were reported to MTFWP this trapping season.

Montana is the last stronghold of wolverines in the lower 48 states. Please do not allow Montana to continue to put trappers' recreational interests ahead of the welfare of the wild animals the agency has an obligation to protect. I urge you to not allow MTFWP to continue recreational trapping in wolverine habitat. Wolverine conservation for all (people and wild animals) has to trump recreational interests of a few.

Sincerely,