Trapping Reform in Wyoming

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Modern Day Marten Trapping is Not a Necessity for Anyone

I still have a huge smile on my face following my incredible encounter with the pine marten trio the other day. While I was immensely happy to have seen and photographed these awesome wild critters in their wild forest home, I was also left wanting to know so much more about them. Due to their secretive nature, we know very little about them and so much of their behavior and social interactions remain very much a mystery. And so, I plan to spend much more time in the coming weeks seeking out these amazing animals.

Disturbingly, martens are heavily trapped for their fur throughout most of their range. In my home state of Wyoming alone, where marten trapping is essentially unlimited during the winter trapping season, nearly 8,000 martens have been killed for their fur in just the last 5 years. What is especially concerning about this intense and essentially unregulated trapping mortality is that we have very little understanding of marten population dynamics. Owing to their elusive nature, they are very difficult to study and we really have no idea how many of these tenacious little hunters there really are in our mountain forests. One thing we do know is that martens are susceptible to over-harvesting and that trapping has historically been the primary cause of regional eradications of marten populations throughout North America. Given the fact that we know so little about them and that martens already face severe threats to the old-growth forest habitats they depend on from logging, climate change, and pine beetle epidemics, the idea of allowing such a heavy take with virtually no restrictions seems incredibly reckless and nearsighted.

Modern day marten trapping is not a necessity for anybody. It isn’t for food and it isn’t for warm clothing. It’s done in the sole name of greed and profit. Because demand for marten furs from high-end, primarily foreign, clothing manufacturers has remained relatively high, martens are a heavily sought after species for trappers. I just can’t even begin to understand how anybody could look at a beautiful wild animal like this and want to extinguish the light from its eyes just to make a quick buck. Please remember to NEVER buy real fur and to support efforts to reform or, better yet, ban the barbaric practice of trapping on our public lands. You could start by supporting these great organizations: Wyoming Untrapped and Footloose Montana

Fortunately, this marten and his two comrades live within the protected confines of Grand Teton National Park where trapping is prohibited.


Sam Parks is a nature photographer specializing in the native wildlife of the Rocky Mountains

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