Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Advisory council sets rule on traps to protect Canada Lynx

AUGUSTA (Dec 15): The Advisory Council of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife today adopted an emergency rule regarding the placement of conibear traps in a positive effort to protect the Canada Lynx, a federally threatened species.

The rule goes into effect immediately. The department is sending a letter to all licensed trappers about the immediate rule change. The general trapping season ends Dec. 31.

IFW Commissioner Roland "Danny" Martin urged all trappers who still are actively trapping to make sure that their sets conform to this new regulation.

"I sincerely commend all trappers for working cooperatively with the Department to make sure that trapping can continue and the impact on lynx can be minimized," said Commissioner Martin.

The emergency rule was adopted in response to a mid-November death of a Canada Lynx in a conibear trap in Wildlife Management District 2. There were two factors that may have increased the likelihood of the lynx being caught: the angle of the tree in which the trap was placed and its proximity to another larger tree may have provided the lynx access to the trap.

On Nov. 26, a U.S. District Court Judge in Bangor ruled that the department must act immediately to further prevent Canada lynx from accessing conibear traps.

The advisory council recently amended Chapter 4.01K of the Regulations of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife regarding "the location and preparation of traps." The language that states all conibear or killer-type traps in Wildlife Management Districts 1-11 that rely on the current rule requiring such traps be set at least four feet above the ground or snow level includes these provisions (additions are marked as new):

• The trap must be at least four feet away from any bank (new);

• The trap must be affixed to a pole or tree that is no greater than 4 inches in diameter at 4 feet above the ground or snow level;

• If a pole is used, the pole must be a natural selection of tree, with or without bark, the sides of which have not been sawed, planed or otherwise altered to create a flat surface (new);

• The pole or tree to which the trap is affixed must be at an angle of 45-degrees or greater to the ground (old) the entire distance from the ground to the trap (new);

• The area within four feet of the trap in all directions must be free of trees, poles or other objects greater than four inches in diameter and must be free of all trees or poles that are slanted at an angle of less than 45 degrees to the ground at any point between the ground and the height of the trap (new).

Also, newly added to the rule is a statement of its purpose, namely that conibear or killer-type traps are not to be placed in the vicinity of objects that make it easier for lynx to access the trap.



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