For Immediate Release, November 2, 2016
||Collette Adkins, Center for Biological Diversity, (651) 955-3821, email@example.com
Daryl DeJoy, Wildlife Alliance of Maine, (207) 479-2252, firstname.lastname@example.org
Amey Owen, Animal Welfare Institute, (202) 446-2128, email@example.com
Rachel Stevens, Vermont Law School Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic, (802) 831-1628, firstname.lastname@example.org
Court to Consider Lawsuit Aimed at Protecting Canada Lynx From
Trapping Deaths, Injuries in Maine
BANGOR, Maine— A federal district court will hear arguments Thursday in a lawsuit brought by conservation and animal-welfare organizations against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for allowing trappers in Maine to kill and seriously injure Canada lynx, a federally protected cat. Plaintiffs include the Center for Biological Diversity, the Wildlife Alliance of Maine and the Animal Welfare Institute.
Each year Maine trappers targeting bobcat, coyotes, foxes, mink and other animals unintentionally kill and seriously injure Canada lynx, among the rarest cats in the United States. Because lynx are protected under the Endangered Species Act, the state cannot authorize such “incidental” harm to lynx without an “incidental take permit” issued by the Service. The lawsuit challenges the Service’s permit, issued to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, covering the state’s trapping programs. The case has significant implications for permit applications now pending in other states where lynx are trapped, including Idaho, Minnesota and Montana.
“Other states are looking to this precedent-setting case to determine whether they need to modify their trapping programs to protect endangered wildlife,” said Collette Adkins, an attorney and biologist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “I’m hopeful the court will recognize that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must require Maine’s trapping programs to protect lynx from traps.”
“We asked Maine for protective measures that would have prevented the deaths of two trapped lynx in the first three weeks of the permit,” said Daryl DeJoy, executive director of Wildlife Alliance of Maine. “Instead of avoiding these injuries and deaths in the first place, Maine's wait-and-see approach puts the risks on the lynx.”
The lawsuit argues that Maine’s trapping programs violate both the Endangered Species Act, which requires that harm to lynx be minimized and mitigated, and the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires a proper analysis of environmental impacts.
“The Endangered Species Act is clear on what is required to protect threatened and endangered species, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has failed to ensure that Maine is meeting the most minimal requirements,” said Tara Zuardo, an Animal Welfare Institute wildlife attorney. “We are hopeful the court will ensure that the agency does not allow Maine or other states to refuse to comply with federal law when it comes to protection of Canada lynx.”
Thursday’s hearing, before U.S. District Court Judge Jon Levy, will be at 10 a.m. in Courtroom 1, Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building & Courthouse, 202 Harlow Street, Bangor, Maine. The hearing is open to the public. Rachel Stevens, an attorney with the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic at Vermont Law School, is representing the plaintiffs at the hearing and will be available after the hearing to discuss the case.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
The Animal Welfare Institute is a nonprofit charitable organization founded in 1951 and dedicated to reducing animal suffering caused by people. AWI engages policymakers, scientists, industry, and the public to achieve better treatment of animals everywhere—in the laboratory, on the farm, in commerce, at home, and in the wild. For more information, visit www.awionline.org.
The Wildlife Alliance of Maine is dedicated to advocate on behalf of Maine’s wildlife and to promote a conservation ethic that represents non-consumptive wildlife users.