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For Immediate Release, July 14, 2008

Contact:  Nicole Paquette, Born Free USA, (916) 622-7170
Marc Fink, Center for Biological Diversity, (218) 525-3884

Minnesota Ordered to Take Action to Protect Lynx From Trappers

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.— After issuing a critical ruling in March declaring the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in violation of the Endangered Species Act for its authorization of trapping within Canada lynx habitat, a Minneapolis federal court today issued a ruling mandating:

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

“The Court has upheld our position that additional trapping restrictions in lynx habitat are vital to prevent more harm to this imperiled species,” said Nicole Paquette, senior vice president and general counsel of Born Free USA, which brought the suit along with the center or Biological Diversity. “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/Animal Protection Institute and the Center for Biological Diversity that the state was in violation of the Endangered Species Act, and ordered the state agency to (1) apply to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for a permit for the its 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.

The Department of Natural Resources responded to the court’s order by applying for an Incidental Take Permit and 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. Today’s decision orders the Department 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 the lynx was first designated as a threatened species,” said 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 Minnesota 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 nonprofit animal advocacy organization working to conserve and protect wildlife in the U.S. and globally. More information is available at .

The Center for Biological Diversity is a nonprofit conservation organization with more than 180,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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