Urgent Help Needed After Animal Advocates Arrested For Rescuing Crying Bear Cub From A Trap In New Jersey

Catherine McCartney is taken into custody by New Jersey State Police at a protest at the Whittingham Wildlife Management Area black bear check-in station during the first day of New Jersey’s 6-day-long regulated bear hunt on October 8th. Photo from the New Jersey Herald.

While the thought of animal advocates being arrested for rescuing a bear cub from a trap, who was crying for her mother, is enough to leave you speechless, our voices are needed more than ever. Not only for all of the innocent animals at risk of being killed, but for the people trying to save them.

Unfathomably, the above-mentioned scenario occurred this past weekend in New Jersey, according to the New Jersey Herald, Catherine F. McCartney, of Highland Lakes, and Mark H. Nagelhout, of Park Ridge, were taken into custody “and issued summonses for obstructing a governmental function by means of interference, disorderly conduct by creating a hazardous or dangerous condition, and disturbing the condition of real property intended for use in the lawful taking of wildlife.”

“We have a lot to report to you today,” the BEAR Group posted on its Facebook page. “A cub was trapped Saturday night at the Great Gorge Condos. BEAR Group members Cathy, Mark, and Kim, were on the scene to document the incident. The only details that we can provide now is that Cathy and Mark have been charged with “opening a culvert bear trap set by the NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife and releasing a live black bear from the trap.”

The post was accompanied by a video in which the cub can be heard crying out for his mother, who was nearby waiting for him.

“You can only imagine how hard this was to hear in person,” the post continued.

As per the organization, this marked the second bear trap that has been set at Great Gorge, with another one being removed last week from another area on the property. The group stated that they are working on finding out if a bear was caught in the trap.

“What we want to know, is really WHY are these traps being set,” explained the post. “The ‘official’ reason is that two bears have ALLEGEDLY charged at people. However, we have great concerns about the authenticity of these incidents, as the condos border state land, and hunters are currently trying to have state lands re-opened to bear hunting, which is due to begin again in a mere five weeks.”

Meanwhile, according to the BEAR Group, “there is no real effort by Great Gorge Villages’ property management company or the state to make it harder for bears to be denied unnatural food sources and use effective Bear Smart initiatives in bear country.”

While it is not known if both alleged incidents involved the same bear, they both were classified as category I by the Division, and once captured, would have been euthanized.

Three pro-hunting groups are reportedly trying to overturn Governor Murphy’s executive order banning the bear hunters from using state land, which took effect during a 6-day hunt earlier this month in which 139 bears were killed.

McCartney, who has also been arrested while protesting the state’s annual bear hunt, and Nagelhout, have a tentative court appearance for November 13th in Vernon Township Municipal Court.

“This is unconscionable. Bears must NOT be killed…NOR excuses made for trophy hunting…when people are being irresponsible,” the BEAR Group stated in the post. “Please continue to make these calls. DEMAND that the December hunt be cancelled, and that the feeding ban be enforced! Ask them, if public safety were truly an issue, why isn’t EVERY homeowner in bear country bear proofing?”

1) Governor Murphy 609-292-6000 @GovMurphy

2) Governor Murphy’s policy advisor Madeline Urbish: Madeline.Urbish@nj.gov

3) Special Assistant to DEP Commissioner Derek Hardy: Derek.Hardy@dep.nj.gov

4) DEP Commissioner Catherine McCabe: 609-292-2885 (she is Bukowski’s boss)

5) Natural and Historic Resources (NHR) Assistant Commissioner Raymond Bukowski: 609-292-3541 and Ray.Bukowski@dep.nj.gov (he is F&W’s boss)

6) NHR Manager Robin Madden: 609-292-5990 and Robin.Madden@dep.nj.gov

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