Behind the scenes in our National Wildlife Refuges lie a variety of deadly yet legal landmines which claim the lives of thousands of animals each year. A refuge is defined as a place providing protection or shelter yet, as one woman and her dog recently learned, this definition does not apply to National Wildlife Refuge land managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. While hiking on Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge in Vermont last weekend a body-crushing trap (also know as a Conibear trap) caught and killed a 5 year old basset hound, Levi (St. Albans Messenger, Dec. 18).
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service actively promotes and even celebrates — without a hint of irony — the recreational trapping and hunting of wildlife on refuge lands. Not only do cruel traps such as the body-crushing trap and the infamous steel-jaw leghold trap cause immense pain and suffering to wildlife, but, as Levis tragic death demonstrates, these outdated and unnecessary devices are also a serious threat to refuge visitors and their pets.
Recreational hunting and/or trapping is now allowed on more than 300 of the 544 refuges within the National Wildlife Refuge System. On Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge where Levi was killed, species targeted by hunters and trappers include geese, ducks, woodcock, snipe, ruffed grouse, white-tailed deer, gray squirrels, cottontail rabbits, muskrat and snowshoe hares.
What you can do:
Tell the Secretary of the Interior, Gale Norton, to make the National Wildlife Refuge System a true refuge for wildlife by banning all trapping practices. Mention that there are humane, cost-effective, and ecologically sound solutions to problems caused by the wild animals who inhabit our National Wildlife Refuges. Also, please contact the refuge manager in your state to let them know you oppose trapping of any kind on refuge land.
Secretary Gale Norton
Department of the Interior
1839 C Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20240
Please also CC your message to the Assistant Director of the National Wildlife Refuge System:
William F Hartwig
U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, Director Steve Williams
Mail stop 3251 MIB
1849 C St., NW
Washington, DC 20240
To find the National Wildlife Refuge in your area and learn more about trapping and hunting on NWR land : http://www.refuges.org
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