Assemblyman Responds To Foxes Killed In Dunes of Manasquan and Sea Girt
When a local Jersey Shore homeowner heard the sounds of an animal in distress as he was walking the beach where Sea Girt and Manasquan meet, he was shocked at what he saw. A fox was caught in a snare trap. Little did this man know that he had stumbled upon a sad secret of this state-owned property. The property is home to the National Guard Training Center and the State Police Training Academy. They had been hiring a trapper to trap and kill the local fox population.
The homeowner, Dan McLoughlin of Manasquan, captured the video you see below. He found evidence of other snare traps and evidence of other animals that had been caught as well.
As a reward for his discovery, he has received a cease and desist order from the state. The video of the trapped animal in distress made its way to an “Overheard in Manasquan” social media group. Members of the group began asking questions.
As it turns out, the state’s managers of that dune area have relied on trapping and killing the local fox population. It is unknown for how long. According to Assemblyman Paul Kanitra (R) -District 10, the foxes are being trapped to protect the nesting area of the Piping Plover. The Plover is a threatened migratory bird.
When an animal is caught in a snare trap, a piece of metal wire wraps around a limb or it’s neck. The trap is placed along the ground, near a animal path in the dune. After being caught, the animal struggles to get free. This struggle often leaves behind markings in the sand.
What’s Being Done About It?
I spoke with Assemblyman Kanitra who had recently heard about the fox trapping and euthanizing on state property. Kanitra said he thought this was a case of trying to save one animal at the expense of another.
Assemblyman Kanitra plans to ban the use of snare traps on state property. He has already spoken with the Office of Legislative Affairs and asked them to begin writing a bill that he could sponsor. He intends to act within a week.
Will The Trapping Continue?
In the meantime, it sounds like there is local pressure on the people who manage the land to stop the trapping and killing of the local fox population. However, evidence uncovered by Manasquan and Sea Girt locals, including Mr. McLoughlin, seems to show that the snare traps are still in use.
It remains to be seen whether or not a threatened migratory bird will win out over the local fox population. Will foxes be killed in the future? Karen Cooper, a local fox and wildlife expert says, “Fox aren’t the only animals that kill the birds. Rats also eat the young and the fox eats the rats, so killing the fox does not make sense. Especially since the birds have not arrived yet.”