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For Immediate Release: 07/15/08

State Ordered to Take New Action to Protect Lynx from Trappers

Minneapolis, MN — After issuing a critical ruling in March declaring the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (“DNR”) in violation of the Endangered Species Act for its authorization of trapping within lynx habitat, a Minneapolis federal court yesterday issued a ruling mandating:

  • Restrictions on use of certain types of body-gripping traps and snare use in Lynx habitat;
  • Prohibition on the use of fresh meat as bait;
  • DNR must operate a telephone hotline during trapping season to receive reports of incidentally trapped lynx; and
  • DNR must rehabilitate lynx injured from trapping.

“The Court has upheld our position that additional trapping restrictions in lynx habitat are vital to prevent more harm to this imperiled species,” stated Nicole Paquette, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Born Free USA. “We remain convinced that there are still further actions worth taking, however, and Born Free USA will keep careful watch to assess whether the additional measures mandated by the Court will prove sufficient to stop the cruel trapping of lynx.”

In its March 28, 2008, decision, the court agreed with Born Free USA united with Animal Protection Institute (Born Free USA) and the Center for Biological Diversity that DNR was in violation of the Endangered Species Act, and ordered the state agency to (1) apply to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service for a permit for the DNR’s trapping program; and (2) develop and prepare a proposal to restrict, modify or eliminate the incidental taking of lynx through trapping activities in the core lynx ranges.

DNR responded to the court’s order by applying for an Incidental Take Permit and by agreeing to take a number of additional steps in the interim to better protect lynx within its core range, including further restrictions on traps and snares. Yesterday’s decision orders the DNR to implement the additional measures, and to ensure that such measures are incorporated into state law by the beginning of the 2008–09 trapping season.

“The State has essentially agreed to do what it should have done eight years ago when lynx was first designated as a threatened species,” stated Marc Fink, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Unfortunately it took a number of lynx caught in traps and then a lawsuit to force DNR to take the required steps.”

Born Free USA and the Center for Biological Diversity were represented by Jay Tutchton of the Environmental Law Clinic Partnership at the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law, and Marc Fink and John Buse, of the Center for Biological Diversity.

Born Free USA united with Animal Protection Institute is a national non-profit animal advocacy organization working to conserve and protect wildlife in the US and globally. More information is available at www.bornfreeusa.org.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a non-profit conservation organization with more than 40,000 members that works through science, law, and creative media to secure a future for all species, great or small, hovering on the brink of extinction. More information is available at www.biologicaldiversity.org.


Nicole Paquette, Born Free USA, 916.622.7170
Marc Fink, Center for Biological Diversity, 218.525.3884

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