Only abundant species of wildlife can be legally
trapped. Since the inception of modern wildlife management in the 1940s, no animal
populations in the U.S. have become endangered or extinct from regulated trapping.
Each state restricts which species can be trapped
and which kinds of traps can be used.
Only licensed trappers are allowed to participate
during a trapping season, which lasts only a few months out of the year and rarely takes
place during the spring or summer seasons, when animals are busy caring for their young.
Experts from all 50 state fish and wildlife
agencies and other conservation groups that care about the environment, natural resources
and animal welfare are working together to improve and modernize the technology of
trapping through scientific research.
Over the past five years, the International
Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies has begun a program to develop Best Management
Practices for trapping as a way to document improvements in the welfare of captured
animals and trap technology. The research project is one of the most ambitious in the
history of the conservation movement.
Trapping is used to relocate wildlife populations
to areas where they once lived but may no longer be found. For example, the restoration of
wolves to Montana and river otters to Missouri was made possible through the use of
Regulated trapping is an important way for
biologists to collect information about wildlife, including information about wildlife
diseases like rabies that can also affect people.
Threatened and endangered species also benefit from
regulated trapping. Sea turtles, black footed ferrets, whooping cranes and other rare
species are protected from predation and habitat damage caused by foxes, coyotes, and