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Minneapolis Star Tribune, July 15, 2008

Federal judge approves MN DNR plan to protect lynx
The Associated Press

DULUTH, Minn. - Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials have come up with a plan to reduce the number of protected Canada lynx that get caught in traps.

A federal judge has approved a plan supported by the DNR, which would impose additional restrictions on trapping in northeastern Minnesota.

In March, Judge Michael Davis ordered the DNR to come up with a plan to protect the lynx from trappers pursuing other species. Davis had also ruled the DNR was violating the federal Endangered Species Act by not protecting the lynx.

Among the requirements in the plan, the lynx zone east of U.S. Highway 53 will have a ban on fresh meat as bait in traps and there will also be a near-ban on conibear body-gripping traps between 5 and 7 1/2 inches wide.

Davis declined to ban certain types of traps in the lynx zone.

The judge also ruled that any lynx that are trapped must be reported to the government and to the Animal Protection Institute and Center for Biological Diversity.

Nicole Paquette, attorney for the Animal Protection Institute, said, "I think it's a good start to keep lynx from being trapped in Minnesota. We're going to be very vigilant in watching what happens in Minnesota."

Marc Fink, attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, said he expects additional restrictions to be imposed during the federal permit process if the new regulations don't stop accidental lynx trapping.

From 2002-2007, at least 14 lynx were injured or killed by trappers in Minnesota, mostly by traps set for other species such as bobcat or fox.

Mike Don Carlos, wildlife research and policy manager for the DNR, said it was a sensible ruling. "It will provide reasonable protections for lynx while still allowing traditional trapping of other species," he said.

The forest cats were put on the federal threatened species list in 2000 in Minnesota, Maine and several Rocky Mountain states.

Photo © Paul S. Hamilton