A cat named Trapper

Trapper is a Canadian Lynx.
He was born on a fur farm in Montana.
Yes... Trapper was born to be some ones fur coat....
but the powers that be slated him for a different purpose. As a newborn he was taken from his mother and sold to a young woman named Maria.

All of this is perfectly legal in Montana.

Maria bottle fed Trapper and he grew into a beautiful cat. Maria and her family became Trapper's family....Maria and Trapper were inseparable.
He went everywhere with her...he was a loving friendly cat and the only thing he seemed to dislike were dogs.

Maria trains horses so Trapper would go with her to work and as he grew Maria started training him to be an ambassador for education.....not every big cat has the temperament to go into a classroom full of school children. Trapper was being trained so perhaps for the only time in their life a child in a classroom might have an opportunity to see up close and personal a Canadian Lynx.

Trapper was a perfect candidate. To watch Maria and Trapper together was wonderful. The bond, the love, head butts and purrs he was a giant wookie of a cat.


Trapper's collision course with the law started on July 26, 1998 Maria dropped Trapper off at her apartment while she went on to Balmoral Race Track to feed the horses. She returned home about 30 mins later to find the air conditioning unit out of the window and Trapper gone. Maria searched the near by woods with no success and as she returned home she noticed a crowd gathered at the pool. A lady had found Trapper sitting on the lawn and placed him in a room next to the pool....the authorities were there and Maria was issued a citation for not having a permit to keep Trapper in Illinois the conservation officer left Trapper in Maria's custody knowing his and her real home was Indiana and they just traveled back and forth to Illinois while Maria worked.

Maria called Nikki Martin of WildTalk and Nikki traveled to Maria's apartment and filled out a APHIS Form 7020 to cover Trapper under the USDA license for WildTalk and WildTalk took legal ownership of trapper. With the paperwork filled out Trapper should have been safe for a few weeks until he could comfortably be transported to Wisconsin while Maria obtained a license of her own.

On September 8, 1998 the day slated for transporting Trapper to Wisconsin, while at work at the racetrack, Maria was approached by a man claiming to be Brian Vanek the dog catcher for Will County Ill. He was there to pick up a dangerous wild animal called Trapper (Canadian Lynx). What Vanek did not know or seem to care was that this lynx was a hand raised baby exotic, taken off a fur farm , bottle fed and he had only known love and care. This educational ambassador who had gone into elementary schools teaching children about wildlife was now headed for the dog pound. This cats worst nightmare!

A simple matter suddenly became very complicated. Why?


Co-owners of Trapper were Nikki Martin of WildTalk in Wisconsin who is state and federally licensed, and has been for 12 years. WildTalk holds a USDA B licence, and a State licence for exhibit/ cougar and Elaine Whitner officer of Friends for Life, Whiner as Animal Zone in Alabama who holds the 501(c)(3) status for non-profit since 1986 . The non-profit foundation holds state permits for captive wildlife, lynx, bob cat and cougar.

With this ownership and licensing Trapper should have been immediately released to one of the Co-owners.....that day.....but NO!!
Assistant States Attorney Charlene Copeland and Brian Vanek refused to release the cat!

Nikki Martin left immediately from Wisconsin to Illinois to transport Trapper to her USDA licensed facility for safety until Maria's situation could be straightened out.

Both Assistant States Attorney Copeland and Officer Vanek of the Will Co Animal Control Unit 1-D turned out to be very unreasonable in this matter....Trappers release was not allowed....he was forced to spend the night in a dog pound....a place filled with barking dogs had to be a horrible ordeal for a lynx who had never spent a night away from his owner and a lynx that was very disturbed at the presence of dogs in his normal daily life.

Maria and Nikki were forced to hire a lawyer...they spent the day in Joliet Ill. in meetings with the lawyer, Vanek and the Assistant States Attorney Mrs. Copland. This was a Friday......and since Mrs. Copland left early on Fridays the situation that should have been settled then and there was postponed until Monday.....access to Trapper by Nikki, Maria or their vet
WAS DENIED! Why? Who was falling down on the job here?


WHY did the states attorney Cropland not release the cat to a Federally licensed facility?
WHY when the legal statutes in Illinois clearly state Maria could put the cat at her own personal veterinarians office until the litigation was over... was that option refused?
WHY when Nikki Martin and Elaine Whitner as co-owners both agreed it was in the best interest and welfare of the animal to be with a person it is very familiar with....was this option refused?
WHY was Maria REFUSED her legal right?
WHY did her lawyer advise her to leave it lie.....that if anyone makes the states attorney angry or irritates the dog catcher, Maria will not get her cat back ever?
WERE politics at play here?
DID a zoo really want this cat as rumored?
WAS there someone in Will County considering sending this cat to a zoo instead of releasing it to its legal owners?

Luckily Trapper was a happy healthy well fed cat upon his confiscation. After a week in the dog pound he had refused to eat and lost considerable weight.....after much pressure he was moved to a Wolf Sanctuary where Maria was allowed to visit him. The legal negotiations continued and finally on Sept 22, 1998 Trapper was released.

Another botched job by the government of Illinois....he was illegally released to Maria....he should have been released to Nikki at WildTalk...but everyone failed to let Nikki know he was released at all.

It was left up to Maria's boyfriend to notify Nikki......why again was the States Attorney negligent in her job? Why was Vanek negligent in his responsibility?
Is there anyone in Will County capable of doing their job properly?

Nikki quickly moved Trapper to Alabama where Elaine Whitner decided she could not keep Trapper so the next location was Wisconsin and WildTalk where he remains safe for the time being.


This rescue has taken a heavy toll on WildTalk....this rescue cost upwards of $4,000 it has been a very hard winter trying to make ends meet....but the important thing is Trapper was saved....he is one success out of 10 failures. Interestingly enough most of these failures are with the organizations that we the taxpayer support to protect our animals. So for this one success we can all be thankful.

Part of that success is due to the animal network on the Internet and all of you who took the time to respond to the newsletter requests for your input to the officials on behalf of Trapper...thank you.

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WHY NOW is Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources dragging its feet in the issue of a license for lynx to WildTalk?
WHY if WildTalk has license for cougar (one of the most difficult licenses to obtain) are they not allowed a license for lynx long ago?


Why would Mr Brammer the official from fish and wild life state he could not see the main cage that would house Trapper and several other animals?

This is not some tiny cage as you can well see.



This is a top notch facility. All of the animals are very well taken care of.

Why is Mr Brammer not adding the lynx to WildTalks license?

On September 15, 1998 Mr. Brammer was sent a note as quoted below:

"I have informed Nicky Martin that she needs your O.K. to add any species to her existing W.F. license."

Signed by Shirley Zuolaneck.

Why was it February 4, 1999 before Mr Brammer came out to WildTalk? That was after the re-issue of the license for cougar.

Somehow it appears to me that the people hired by US (THE TAXPAYER) to protect our wildlife are making it very difficult for people who save these animals......and VERY EASY FOR THOSE WHO DESTROY THEM.

Maybe we need to make our voices heard on some of these issues.

Written by Linda Porasso
Wolf Alliance

What right do our public officials have to flagrantly mishandle business and perhaps violate the laws?

P.O. Box 187
Williams Bay, Wi. 53191

phone contact is:
414 245 3368

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