For Immediate Release,
October 13, 2021
MINNEAPOLIS— The Center for Biological Diversity notified two federal agencies today of its plans to sue for inadequate analysis of the risks to federally protected Canada lynx caused by trapping of wolves by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program.
Wildlife Services is a multimillion-dollar federal program that killed more than 5,000 of Minnesota’s native animals last year. That included 203 wolves, 167 coyotes, and 30 foxes killed using foothold traps and strangulation snares. These indiscriminate traps also capture and kill Canada lynx, wild cats protected by the Endangered Species Act.
“Wildlife Services’ cruel killing of wolves and other wildlife is harmful and totally out of touch with science,” said Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation program director at the Center. “The science shows that nonlethal methods of addressing conflicts with wolves work. We’re hoping to force federal officials to consider alternatives to all this needless killing.”
Today’s notice explains that the Endangered Species Act requires Wildlife Services and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to analyze and mitigate the adverse effects of the federal trapping program on the Canada lynx. As few as 50 of the rare cats may remain in Minnesota.
In the past decade, state and federal agencies have documented captures of 16 lynx in traps set for other wildlife in Minnesota, six of which resulted in death for the trapped wild cat. Last year the Center brought a still-ongoing case against the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for state-permitted fur trapping that injures and kills Canada lynx.
“Year after year we see sickening reports of lynx getting caught and even killed by traps set for wolves and other animals,” said Adkins. “Instead of relying on barbaric and indiscriminate traps to kill predators, governmental agencies should work with livestock operators to implement modern measures to prevent conflicts with wildlife.”
The notice letter starts a 60-day clock, after which the Center can file its lawsuit to compel the federal agencies to comply with the Endangered Species Act.