Five animal-rights organizations have filed a petition pressuring the state of Oregon to ban forms of trapping in four areas of the state. The professed reason for the petitioned ban is to avoid potential mortality to Humbolt martens – a small mammal related to other martens, minks and otters. The Humbolt marten is not currently listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act, although it is under consideration for listing.
The organizations, Cascadia Wildlands, the Center for Biological Diversity, Environmental Protection Information Center, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center and Oregon Wild, are asking the state to ban the trapping of martens west of Interstate 5, to ban all mammal trapping (not just for martens) in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation area, and to ban all marten and all tree trapping (not just for martens) in the Siskiyou and Siuslaw national forests.
The premise of ending trapping for any species or similar species in areas where a rare species might be found is a familiar tactic for animal-rights activists. The twist here is that the species is not listed as endangered or threatened on the federal (or state) ESAs, and the activists are seeking a trapping ban from a state agency rather than a federal court.
In July 2017, the Center for Biological Diversity and other animal-rights organizations conceded defeat to the Sportsmen’s Alliance, Maine Trappers’ Association, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the state of Maine in their attempt to revoke an Incidental Take Permit authorizing the accidental trapping of Canada lynx in Maine by trappers seeking other species. Revoking the permit would have subjected bobcat, coyote, fox and other trappers to federal prosecution for the accidental trapping of protected lynx. The lawsuit was widely perceived as an attempt to ban trapping of non-protected species, and not a sincere effort to protect lynx.
“These backdoor attempts to end trapping of abundant species by using the Endangered Species Act or other legal authorities designed to protect rarer species are all too familiar. They haven’t worked in other states, and have been consistently rejected in the courts,” said Evan Heusinkveld, president and CEO of Sportsmen’s Alliance. “This is just a toehold to undermine wildlife management with zero evidence to support any need to end trapping in these areas.”
Oregon has 90 days to review the petition, take public comment and initiate the ban or reject it.
About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research. Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: Online, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.