Grizzly on Togwotee Is Seen Dragging a Trap
On June 5, Wyoming Untrapped received a call, from a concerned citizen reporting a grizzly boar dragging a Conibear caught on its paw in the Bridger-Teton National Forest near the Blackrock Ranger Station. A local photographer witnessed the incident, and forwarded a photo to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department last Wednesday. WGFD confirmed the photo shows a large grizzly with a trap attached to the foot. Conibears are considered ‘quick-kill’ traps. Trappers are only required to check this kind of trap once every week, although the first week of the set allows for up to 13 days of check time. This grizzly could still be carrying the attached trap. We don’t know if this is a legal trap. But we do know that this type of trap can be set any time of year without a license.
If you are in this particular region of the Bridger-Teton National Forest—first, be aware that active traps are in the area. Second, please be on the lookout for evidence of the grizzly involved, any details relating to the fate of the grizzly, and report immediately. Notify Wyoming Untrapped, firstname.lastname@example.org or 307-201-2422 of any details. As well as the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. We will continue to seek more information about this incident.
This trapping incident raises plenty of questions about the impacts trapping has on wildlife of every sort, including endangered species. What is the fate of this grizzly? How many grizzlies have been indiscriminately trapped in Wyoming? Are our non-target reports too incomplete because of unclear, unenforced non-target reporting requirements? Why are trappers exempt from the consequences of the taking of an ESA-listed species, or other protected species without repercussions or accountability? Unfortunately, no animal is immune from the effects of trapping and the sheer inadequacy of trapping regulations in Wyoming.
A trap on Wyoming public land has caught a protected species, a grizzly bear. Trapping makes the mentality of ‘shoot, shovel, and shut up’ all too easy, especially since non-target incidents, or ‘by catch’ are only required to be reported when the trapper deems the animal unlikely to live. That high degree of discretion inevitably leads to gaps in reporting.
We’ll post updates on our website blog as the details surface, wyominguntrapped.org/news/alert-grizzly-trapping-incident/. Please call or email with any information you may have.
Read about another Wyoming grizzly trapping incident – a cub caught in a conibear:
Photo: L Robertson
Grizzly on Togwotee Is Seen Dragging a Trap
POSTED: WEDNESDAY, JUNE 7, 2017 4:30 AM
While it’s unknown how long the bruin has been hobbled by the steel contraption, a photograph of the bear was passed along to Wyoming Game and Fish on May 31.
Moran resident and videographer Jim Laybourn is one person who has viewed the image of the caught bear, having run into a Dubois couple shortly after they snapped the photo.
“It’s firmly attached, most of the way up its paw, and there’s no way that it’s going to get it off,” Laybourn said. “It’s really disgusting to think about that animal struggling with the trap. It’s going to be a tough existence.”
Dan Thompson, Game and Fish’s large carnivore supervisor, was more optimistic that the grizzly would be able to free itself.
“I think there’s a high likelihood that the bear has since removed that trap, because it was a smaller trap,” Thompson said. “As strong as bears are, I would expect a grizzly to be able to remove it, I would think.”
Game and Fish personnel are monitoring the situation “vigilantly,” he said, but they have not laid eyes on the animal. If it is located, the bear will be immobilized and the trap removed.
The Dubois residents who photographed and reported the trapped bear, rumored to be a boar, declined to be interviewed for this story when reached through their employers at Jackson Hole Airport.
The couple, Laybourn said, were shaken up.
“I could tell by their reaction that it was really emotional for them,” he said. “They felt horrible about that bear, and I imagine I would, too.”
The Conibear trap observed on the grizzly’s paw is a quick-kill device that typically is used to trap beavers, muskrats and pine marten — all species that are not in season in Wyoming. Trapping of species classified as predators, such as red fox and coyote, is allowed throughout the year.
Employees of Wyoming Untrapped, a group that advocates for trapping reform, said the incident is evidence of the need for trapping bans in grizzly country.
“It’s frustrating that an endangered species has been caught and now we can’t find it,” said Kristin Combs, Wyoming Untrapped’s program director.
“It’s an example of why trapping is so indiscriminate and doesn’t have a place in modern wildlife management,” she said. “Now there’s a poor grizzly bear out there with a trap on its paw.”
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