Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is asking trappers, researchers, and others in close contact with live felids (cats) and mustelids (weasels) to be conscious of the potential to transmit COVID into wild populations with unknown consequences.
COVID has been documented being transmitted from humans to cats and weasels in captivity and the consequences for wild populations is unknown.
Potential transmission would be most likely where researchers are live-capturing and releasing animals or in situations where a trapper might release an animal. Of particular note are lynx as they are designated as a federally threatened species.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and FWP are asking trappers to carry with them and use gloves, a mask, and a catch-pole when releasing animals. Normal trapping regulations and procedures remain in place, but please take precautions to eliminate potential transmission. As always, FWP is available to assist in release when needed or in situations where the trapping regulations require notification of the department.