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According to the Endangered Species Act, ‘take’ means to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct. An incidental take is a take that results from activities that are otherwise lawful.
The following is an example of a federal regulation defining the term:
Incidental take refers to takings that result from, but are not the purpose of, carrying out an otherwise lawful activity conducted by the Federal agency or applicant. [50 CFR 402.02].