The Humboldt marten is in line to get new protections in Oregon.
State fish and wildlife officials signed a court settlement Wednesday that calls for new rule-making to ban trapping of this imperiled, mink-like mammal.
The Humboldt marten’s numbers have plummeted and it was thought to be extinct until it was rediscovered in the 1990s.
Pesticides, trapping, logging and the effects of climate change have all been blamed. Four isolated populations remain in coastal forests of southern Oregon and Northern California.
The Oregon trapping ban would be in place by September. It follows a similar ban adopted by California last year. In August, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission had ordered rules to curtail trapping Humboldt martens. But Cascadia Wild and the Center for Biological Diversity sued Oregon last month because the rules had not yet been adopted.
“It’s a shame that it takes a court order for Oregon’s fish and wildlife agency to take any action that benefits imperiled wildlife, even actions supported by the Fish and Wildlife Commission,” said Nick Cady, legal director at Cascadia Wildlands.
Reached late in the day Thursday, Michelle Dennehy, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, said she was not able to comment on the settlement, pending consultation with the department’s lawyers at the state Department of Justice.
Conservation groups also have taken legal action at the federal level to increase protections for the Humboldt marten. They sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2015 for protections under the Endangered Species Act. The service initially denied the listing, but a judge last year ordered it to reconsider that decision.