State bans trapping of tiny coastal Humboldt marten
(Reprinted from above link)
The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission voted to ban the trapping of the Humboldt marten, a small carnivorous mammal that lives in the state’s old growth forests.
The commission voted 4-3 on Friday to ban trapping of the creatures west of the Interstate 5 corridor and in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. Traps suspended from trees were also banned in Siskiyou and Siuslaw national forests.
“The commission did the right thing in protecting Humboldt martens from trapping so that Oregonians can have the opportunity to observe these special animals in our coastal forests,” Danielle Moser, wildlife coordinator at Oregon Wild, said in a statement.
Though they once roamed the coastal mountains from the Columbia River south to Sonoma County in Northern California, there are thought to be fewer than 200 martens remaining in Oregon. Their population has been decimated by over-trapping and logging of old growth forests, according to environmental groups.
In Oregon, only two populations of the marten exist, one in the Siskiyou National Forest and the other in the Siuslaw National Forest, both isolated from one another. A recent study found that even the incidental death of one or two martens per year could lead to extinction of the Oregon populations in coming decades.
Advocates had previously petitioned to grant the marten protected status under the Endangered species act, but were denied in January after state officials said they lacked the scientific evidence to warrant special protection for the animal.
State rejects endangered species protection for Humboldt marten
There are thought to be fewer than 200 of the tiny mammals left in the state
Conservation groups celebrated Friday’s decision even as they noted the need for more protections.
“I’m so relieved Humboldt martens will scamper wild and free in our coastal forests without fear of dying in a trap,” Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement. “Banning trapping is a big first step toward safeguarding these cute creatures. Now we need wildlife crossings on highways and reconnected forest habitats.”