Trapping's Effects on Endangered Species


Body gripping traps do not discriminate by design. Any creature with legs that touch the ground can trigger these devices. This poses an incredible threat to endangered and at risk species that frequent trapping areas.  


wolf in snow pc Ray Rafiti

The results of the annual Mexican wolf census conducted by Fish and Wildlife Service found 58 wolves and 6 breeding pairs at the end of 2011. Mexican wolves or lobos are one of the most endangered species on the planet, and the most endangered North American land mammal, yet trapping continues on their lands. Non-governmental trappers have trapped at least fourteen lobos since 2002. Many sustained injuries including the loss of toes, and two wolves had legs fully amputated. In July 2010, Governor Richardson banned traps in the Blue Range Mexican Wolf Recovery Area. In November 2010, the Game Commission unanimously ratified that decision, but the New Mexico Department Game and Fish defied the Governor and the Commission. The agency allowed coyote trapping to continue on the Blue Range Wolf Recovery area, arguing disingenuously that it had no authority to regulate coyote trapping.


Bobcat Sandy Nervig small

New Mexico supplied a jaw-dropping 22,961 bobcat furs to the world's fur market in the last decade. New Mexico Department Game and Fish counts bobcats pursuant to the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). Despite the fact that New Mexico is required by CITES to ensure that it does not cause detriment to the survival of bobcats, it has one of the longest bobcat seasons in the west and no bag limits. Its population size has been grossly overestimated by New Mexico Department Game and Fish, said one biologist, who analyzed New Mexico Department Game and Fish records and study methodologies.


Canada Lynx iStock

Since lynx were successfully reintroduced into Colorado, many have moved into the forests of northern New Mexico, where unabated trapping is allowed. Historically lynx were easily trapped and poisoned and this lead to their decline. 

Lynx are often caught in traps and snares intended for coyotes. New Mexico denies that lynx are present in the State, despite the fact that GPS information from Colorado Division of Wildlife confirms it.

photo credit: Wolf: Ray Rafiti. Bobcat: Sandy Nervig. Lynx: iStock.