Conservation groups want the state of Oregon to ban the trapping of Humboldt martens in coastal forests.
Five groups filed a petition Wednesday asking the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to protect these rare forest carnivores.
Humboldt martens are relatives of minks and otters that live in old-growth forests and shrub along the coast in Southern Oregon and Northern California.
The species is so rare it was thought to be extinct until it was rediscovered on Northern California's Six Rivers National Forest in 1996. Oregon is home to fewer than a hundred of them, and they’re currently being considered for federal endangered species protection.
Trapping the species has been illegal in California since 1946, but it’s still allowed in Oregon.
New research concludes that trapping just a few of these martens for their fur could put them at risk of extinction.
The petition, filed by Cascadia Wildlands, the Center for Biological Diversity, Environmental Protection Information Center, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center and Oregon Wild, seeks a ban on trapping west of Interstate 5.
The state has 90 days to initiate the ban or deny the petition.