Federal government faces prosecution for lynx trapping

Marshal Helmberger

REGIONAL— The Animal Services division of the USDA killed just over 1.5 million wild creatures last year, which ranged from 8,524 common crows to 626 great blue herons, 13 northern cardinals and 707 otters of river.
Most of the killings were intentional, committed by federal trappers, although thousands of birds and mammals are also unintentionally killed by the service each year. This includes threatened and endangered species, like the Canada lynx, and it is these deaths that seem likely to land the federal agency in court.
The Center for Biological Diversity has filed a notice of intent to sue the agency over the deaths of several lynxes in Minnesota in recent years. In a press release, the CBD said it plans to prosecute Animal Services‘ inadequate analysis of lynx risks as a result of the agency’s wolf trapping program in the state. This program killed 203 wolves, 167 coyotes and 30 foxes last year.
“The cruel slaughter of wolves and other wildlife by Wildlife Services is harmful and totally out of touch with science,” said Collette Adkins, director of the carnivore conservation program at CBD. “Science shows that non-lethal methods of resolving conflict with wolves work. We hope to force federal officials to consider alternatives to all of these unnecessary killings. “
The CBD is asking Animal Services to work with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to analyze and mitigate the adverse effects of the federal program on the lynx.
The CBD has an ongoing lawsuit against the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for state-authorized fur trapping, which also causes injury and death to the lynx.
“Year after year, we see sickening reports of lynx being captured and even killed by traps set for wolves and other animals,” Adkins said. “Instead of relying on barbaric and indiscriminate traps to kill predators, government agencies should work with pastoralists to implement modern measures to prevent conflict with wildlife.
The notice of intention to sue begins on a 60-day clock, after which CBD can file its lawsuit.

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Jennifer R. Strohm

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