Idaho wants to include wolf trapping in their bag of tricks for the upcoming wolf hunt. I pray wolves won’t be subjected to this horror. The lawsuit challenging the wolf delisting rider is fast tracking in Judge Molloy’s court. I believe he will find the rider to be unconstitutional.
I wonder if most people understand how evil trapping really is? I’m always reminded of the sad tale of an alpha female wolf, who had been trapped outside Denali National Park. She spent fourteen horrific days in that trap without food or water in horrible pain. Her packmates were frantic to help her but they could only watch her suffer. In the end she was so hungry, she tried to eat rocks and her teeth were broken in the effort. That beautiful wolves’ world was reduced to being caught in a medieval, painful trap, meant to deprive her of her family, deprive her of food and shelter, and ultimately deprive her of her life. Her story has brought me to tears more than once.
This is trapping. It is barbaric, it is torture and should be outlawed. The fact they want to use traps to kill wolves in the Idaho hunt is egregious beyond measure.
Trapping also has terrible connotations connected to wolves because it was the trap that was used so liberally to exterminate wolves in the West. Are we traveling down that long, dark path once more?
“One study on wolves taken in various types of traps was published in the Journal of Wildlife Management (Ballenberghe 1984). It investigated injuries and mortality of 126 wolves trapped in northeastern Minnesota and Alaska. Traps used included steel jaw leghold traps of various types, some with teeth, others with smooth offset jaws; steel cable foot snares; and cable neck snares equipped with devices that prevented the loop from fully closing (Ballenberghe 1984). The results confirmed that steel jaw leghold traps caused the greatest number of injuries and mortalities: 41 percent of 109 adults, yearlings and pups caught in these traps incurred serious foot and leg injuries, defined as lacerations, damage to tissue, bone breakage, and joint dislocations (Ballenberghe 1984). Three wolves, including a pup, had broken leg bones; two others lost front feet after they were nearly amputated by the trap. One young male with broken radius and ulna bones in his foreleg was released in this study to stumble off; this wolf was caught by a trapper several months later (Ballenberghe 1984).
Other injuries resulted when trapped animals gnawed their own feet off and chewed on the traps, breaking teeth and splitting lips. The steel jaw leghold traps caused tissue, muscle and tendon injuries, even when checked daily” (Ballenberghe 1984).”
Aside from leghold traps, there are snare traps. These are equally horrific. In 1992 there was a mind-boggling “research project” conducted in Alaska, involving the use of thousands of wire snares laid to kill wolves in a misguided attempt to increase ungulate populations. The ESA Handbook further describes the horror that ensued.
“In 1992, such a wolf “research” program, involving the setting of thousands of wire snares, was carried out south of Fairbanks. Gordon Haber, a conservationist and wolf biologist who has worked for decades on behalf of Alaska’s
wolves, brought television crews to film the snaring operation in December 1994. They were shocked by the scene
that awaited them. Four wolves had been caught in wire snares, two of them pups. One was dead, and three were still alive, terrified and in great pain. A 6-month-old pup, with its paw caught in a neck snare, had chewed off its foreleg in a futile effort to escape. Another had been snared around the chest, causing deep wounds. The other two had been snared by the leg. All these snares had been set to catch the wolves by the neck and kill them, yet none did. Members of the pack milled about nearby, unwilling to leave their fellows. Two snared Caribou were lying dead nearby. A trapper was filmed as he attempted to shoot the wolves, repeatedly missing or wounding them because he used the wrong caliber ammunition in his gun. He shot one pup five times in the head and body at point-blank range with the wrong gauge ammunition. The pup, wounded, remained standing. The trapper then reloaded with other ammunition, and this time shot all three wolves fatally.”
That is trapping in all it’s ugliness. We have not learned anything as a society if we tolerate this kind of brutality. The magnificent wolf or any animal should never be exposed to this torture.
Please visit Footloose Montana to learn more.
Large Leghold Trap.
* Sadly Gordon Haber was killed in a plane crash in the fall of 2009. The wolves of Denali lost their champion.
Photos: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Posted in: Wolf Wars, Idaho wolves
Tags: brutality of trapping, leghold traps, wire snare trapping, animal cruelty, animal suffering, trapping should be banned, gray wolf, Idaho, Alaska