Trapping donations to benefit: Footloose Montana

After hearing too many stories about dogs being horribly injured or killed by legal traps on public lands, in the winter of 2007 a group of Montanans who enjoy hiking, fishing, hunting, skiing, boating and recreating on Montana' s public lands and waterways gathered to discuss how we could help keep those lands safe for people and their pets.

As we shared stories of encounters with trappers and traps, it became apparent how few people understand the scope of the danger trapping poses to people and their pets. We realize that with over 3,000 licensed trappers in the state each able to run an unlimited number of traps, tens of thousands of traps-steel-jawed leghold traps, body-crushing Conibear traps, and wire choke snares-lurk in drainages all across the state. Virtually all popular waterways have traps along them at some point. Traps, we came to understand, kill not only our pets, but precious and endangered wildlife.

From those gatherings and discussions rose Footloose Montana, a local non-profit organization driven by an interest in informing Montanans about the scope and danger of trapping on public lands, funded by local individuals contributing from their own checkbooks.

You and your pets are not immune from the danger of traps. If you ski, hike, fish, hunt, kayak, raft, or just stroll along Montanas public lands, you may run into traps and when a companion animal is trapped, you may not be able to save it in time.

Here is info on a lawsuit filed on behalf of Footloose Montana

Lawsuit Filed to Halt Trapping of Rare Wolverine in Montana

Helena, MT Today, the Western Environmental Law Center, on behalf of eight conservation groups and one individual, filed a lawsuit to halt wolverine trapping in Montana until the species population has recovered.

On December 14, 2010, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service determined that the wolverine deserves federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. However, the agency also said it could not undertake the necessary rulemaking process for lack of time, so the wolverine remains a candidate species awaiting protective status.

Montana is the only state in the Lower 48 that still allows the rare wolverine to be trapped. Montanas wolverine population is estimated at 100-175 animals, with no more than 35 individuals capable of producing offspring. The current quota in Montana allows five wolverines to be trapped and killed each season. Wolverines are trapped for their fur.

Wolverines are tough animals, but they need all the help they can get right now in the face of a warming planet with shrinking and increasingly fragmented habitat, said Matthew Bishop, an attorney with the Western Environmental Law Center who is representing the groups. Trapping wolverine under these circumstances is making an already bleak situation worse.

Since being designated a candidate species for ESA protection, members of the public have submitted extensive comments to the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission asking the agency to end the trapping of wolverines. The Commissioners did not respond or otherwise address these comments. The State also refused to address the merits of a formal petition submitted by Mr. Bishop on behalf of the same eight conservation groups and one individual asking the State to adopt a new rule ending the trapping of wolverines until they are no longer a candidate or listed species under the ESA.

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