Group wants trapping ban for sake of lynx
Group says trapping aimed at other animals in the
BY JOHN MYERSNEWS TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
Minnesota-based animal welfare group has asked the federal government to ban trapping in
Linda Hatfield, executive director of HOWL, said a review of research data shows at least 15 lynx have been trapped, snared or shot in
Of six snaring incidents, three were fatal to lynx. "HOWL's concern is that snares and traps that are intentionally set for bobcat and fox within the two national forests are a significant danger and threat to
The letter also was sent to regional Forest Service officials and state and federal lawmakers.
HOWL noted that
Phil Delphey, endangered species biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said HOWL's numbers appear accurate. "They're close. It's within one or two animals. And the mortality of those (trapped lynx) is somewhere between six to 10 animals," Delphey said Monday.
Delphey acknowledged that more lynx probably have been killed by traps and not reported or discovered. With an estimated 200 lynx now in the state, it's not clear what effect trapping has on the overall population and species recovery.
Sanders said it's not clear whether the Forest Service has any authority to ban trapping on federal land in the forest.
Wildlife management is the purview of the state Department of Natural Resources and, if the species has federal protection, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Sanders is preparing a response to HOWL's letter but said no action is pending." The key here is that all three agencies have the recovery of the lynx as a priority," Sanders said. "We're working cooperatively on the issue, and that's the best way to proceed."
Dan Croke, a
across the north woods. "It's not happening as much as they think. I'm
not hearing about (trapped lynx) at all," Croke said. "And if they are
accidentally taken, lynx often can be released. They don't fight the trap."Croke said that further restrictions on trapping in
It's not the first time environmental groups have claimed trapping aimed at other animals is taking too many lynx. The News Tribune reported in November that Defenders of Wildlife, a national conservation group, along with the North Star Chapter of the Sierra Club and the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, sent a letter to DNR commissioner Gene Merriam.
The groups asked the DNR to take immediate steps to prevent accidental lynx trapping.
Defenders suggested the DNR require trappers to use smaller traps that are less likely to take lynx, and to ban snares in areas that lynx favor. The groups also called for the DNR to offer greater incentives for trappers to report lynx taken by accident and to improve trapper education.
So far, the DNR has not changed any trapping policy. But DNR officials note that, in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, wildlife managers mailed brochures to all licensed trappers in the state explaining how to avoid trapping lynx by accident.
At least five of 32 radio-collared lynx have been trapped in the last
three years, researchers report. Two of those were found dead and the
others were released or escaped. Some biologists note that such a high
percentage of study animals trapped could indicate a major problem.
Lynx were common in northern
The state ended trapping in 1984 and the federal government, forced by court orders, added lynx to the threatened species list in 2000.As recently as 2000, DNR biologists said no lynx lived in the state and that any seen here were migrants from
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