Florida's Wildlife Need Your Help!
Dear Friend of Wildlife,
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) is revising its rules around trapping to protect Florida black bears and Florida panthers. This is a rare opportunity to for Florida residents to demand much-needed trapping reform in Florida for all species, as well as for those that are threatened. Note: although we, of course, want to ban all trapping in the state, that decision is not currently on the table.
Ask the FWC to better protect wildlife from indiscriminate traps!
Here are 3 ways you can speak up:
- Submit comments through FWC’s online commenting tool. You will fill out a survey with a scale and have the option to submit written comments in a box below the scale. Craft your comments in your own words using the Talking Points below. The commenting tool will limit responses to 250 characters per topic, so make sure to write them before submission online. You can enter and exit the commenting tool and it will save your draft response for up to two weeks. Please be sure to submit your written comments before January 8, 2022.
- Attend one or more of FWC’s workshops via Zoom. Note: the first one is tomorrow!
- 9 a.m. Saturday, December 4
- 9 a.m. Monday, December 6
- 6 p.m. Thursday, December 9
All times are eastern time zone. You don't have to register to join the workshop, but spots are limited, so log on early to ensure you get a spot.
Oral and written comments and questions will be allowed during the workshop. Prepare your testimony before the meeting by practicing the talking points below.
- Invite others to engage by sharing this alert and graphic with friends and family in Florida!
These talking points are listed in the order the FWC form lists its questions, and include our assessment of whether wildlife advocates should agree or disagree:
- Trapper Education (indicate Strongly Agree for first question & Neutral for the second): Require nonlethal wildlife conflict resolution training as part of the required education. Any potential conflict can be solved without trapping and will lead to better outcomes for people and wildlife.
- Self-Reporting (Strongly Agree, then Neutral): Ensure proper self-reporting by implementing a fine for false reports. Enforce regulations by performing audits of permit holders. The development of a field report app could also increase reporting by trappers.
- More Strictly Regulating Wildlife Trap Design, Placement, and Use (Strongly Agree, then Neutral): FWC should use the best available science, and not only the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ work. Many studies show the negative impacts and the cruelty of non-selective traps. FWC should ban leghold traps, snares and Conibear traps.
- More Detailed Regulation (Strongly Agree, then Neutral): FWC should require anyone wishing to use a trap to have a permit, with no exemptions. They should also require a permit fee that can be used to offset the cost of permitting and enforcement. Hunters and anglers pay for a permit, trappers should too.
- Foot- and Leg-Hold Traps (Strongly Disagree, then Strongly Disagree again): FWC should not rescind the ban on these traps. A study in 2018 found that cougars caught in these traps were less likely to survive long-term. Panther kittens, bear cubs, and other wildlife would be at significant risk.
- Body Traps (Strongly Agree, then Disagree): Body-crushing traps should be banned by FWC. Companion animals and children can get their limbs caught, as happened in 2015 when a boy was playing in a pond. These traps are inhumane and are under consideration for a ban at the federal level.
- Snares and Cables (Strongly Agree, then Disagree): These traps should be banned by FWC. Many gold-standard studies have exhibited the cruelty of these devices to both target and non-target animals. Safety mechanisms can fail, causing individuals to spend the rest of their lives struggling to breathe.
- Corrals (Strongly Agree, then Neutral): Corrals should have an open top and a low enough fence to reduce the number of unintended animals caught. FWC should require permit holders to provide water in the corral in case an animal cannot escape.
- Cages (Strongly Agree, then Neutral): FWC should require anyone seeking to use a cage trap to undergo nonlethal conflict resolution training. Additionally, these traps are commonly sold at stores and their sale should be restricted to those with permits.
- Possession of Wildlife (Strongly Agree, then Neutral): Permit holders should make all efforts to release or euthanize an animal caught in a trap immediately. There should be rules around humane treatment if this is not possible, such as ensuring the animal does not stay in a hot vehicle.
- Checking Traps (Strongly Agree, then Neutral): Trappers should have to physically check their traps between sunrise and 11. They should also check electronically or physically before evening in case an animal was caught after their last check to ensure the animal is not trapped all night.
- Definition of Terms: FWC should clearly define the terms “check traps,” “removal,” “possession,” and others used in their rules. Additionally, FWC should reconsider the term “nuisance wildlife” to more clearly define individual animals that are causing damage to property or harm to people.
- Final open-ended comment: Eliminate all trapping in Florida panther and Florida black bear core habitat. Require all persons using traps to acquire a permit and complete nonlethal conflict resolution training.
Thank you for acting today to protect Florida’s wildlife!
For Wild Nature,