Photo: Tony Hisgett

“Be vigilant when enjoying our nation’s refuges. An indiscriminate, brutal trap can injure or kill not only intended targets but also humans and companion animals” – Born Free USA CEO  

Washington, D.C., October 11, 2016 — This week is National Wildlife Refuge Week: a celebration of the largest conservation system in the world. Yet, more than half of all national wildlife refuges allow the use of cruel traps. While millions of Americans may celebrate by visiting a refuge with their families and animal companions, Born Free USA, a leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, urges people to stay vigilant to deadly traps, which may be hidden shockingly close to trails and paths.

According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, “Traps are vicious, dangerous devices, yet they are still allowed on large amounts of federally protected, public land: land that was ostensibly set aside for the protection of wildlife, and for the opportunity for everyone to experience and enjoy nature. Traps are horrifyingly indiscriminate and can inflict trauma, injury, and death not only for the intended target animal, but also companion animals and endangered species (www.bornfreeusa.org/database/trapping_incidents.php). Even iconic, once-endangered bald eagles fall victim to leghold traps; if they survive the brutal capture, their injuries may result in amputated talons and severed tendons, fatally impairing their ability to grasp prey.”

Bald eage. (Photo Credit: Tony Hisgett via WikiMedia Commons)

Bald eage. (Photo Credit: Tony Hisgett via WikiMedia Commons)

The purpose of the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS), established by President Theodore Roosevelt, is to protect wildlife from exploitation and harm. The system is home to more than 240 endangered species, as well as to 700 species of birds, 220 mammal species, 250 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 200 types of fish.

The NWRS’ mission is “to administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management, and where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife, and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.”

oberts adds, “Animals and people should have the freedom to enjoy these stunning refuges without the horrific threat of stepping into a trap. These traps are heartbreaking in their cruelty. Not only do they restrain wild animals who rely on freedom of movement for survival, but the injuries and death they inflict are torturous: shattered bones, crushed limbs and organs, and slow, prolonged deaths. Animals often remain trapped for days and are thus exposed to hypothermia, thirst, starvation, and predation. It is inexcusable to subject any animal to such a fate on lands intended for their preservation. And, the risk to humans and their dogs is unfair and indefensible.”

National Wildlife Refuge Week comes just one month after Born Free USA released its shocking undercover trapping investigation, Victims of Vanity II, which reveals barbaric, dangerous, and sometimes illegal trapping practices common on private, public, and protected land.

While asking the public to stay alert to the presence of traps in nearby wildlife refuges, Born Free USA also urges the swift passage of the Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act (H.R. 2016/S. 1081), a bill that would ban the use of lethal and injurious traps throughout the National Wildlife Refuge System.

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