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Feds Propose Listing Rare Humboldt Marten As A Threatened Species

Federal wildlife managers are proposing to list the Humboldt marten as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. This comes after a long legal battle with conservation groups.

Environmental groups sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service a couple years back after it initially denied the listing. But a judge ordered the Service to reconsider by this month.   

Only a few hundred Humboldt martens are left, living in small coastal pockets of forest in Northern California and Southern Oregon.

The proposed “threatened" status would protect the small mink relative from things like trapping, which is still legal in Oregon.

But the proposal explicitly says it will not curb logging practices to protect the animals.

“That’s like saying that you’re going to sober up while continuing to drink — it’s just not going to work,” said Earthjustice lawyer Greg Loarie in a statement.

Environmental groups say habitat loss is a major factor in the marten’s decline, and the proposal continues to leave them vulnerable.    

Timber companies in the region have opposed past actions to provide federal protections.

A public comment period on the proposed listing will open October 9, when the proposed rule is officially published.  

Recently, California protected the marten under that state’s endangered species act. Oregon declined to list the marten in mid-September.   

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<p>New research concludes that trapping just a few Humboldt martens for their fur would put the species at risk of extinction.</p>

Mark Linnell

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New research concludes that trapping just a few Humboldt martens for their fur would put the species at risk of extinction.

Jes Burns is a reporter for OPB's Science & Environment unit. Jes has a degree in English literature from Duke University and a master's degree from the University of Oregon's School of Journalism and Communications.