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Court Upholds Lynx Protection Ruling

Good news out of Montana from the Western Environmental Law Center. The ninth district court of appeals denied an appeal from the Montana Trappers Association to overturn a 2015 decision to protect lynx from becoming caught by traps.

“This decision means Montana will continue to implement the terms of our settlement to safeguard lynx from trapping in the ‘lynx protection zones’ as long as lynx are listed under the Endangered Species Act,” said Matthew Bishop with the Western Environmental Law Center. “This decision vindicates the settlement, and will benefit lynx and wolverine recovery, critical to Montana’s wildlands.”

The settlement agreement — finalized in September 2015 — establishes a “lynx protection zone” in occupied lynx habitat in northwest Montana and the Greater Yellowstone area. In the lynx protection zone, trapping regulations restrict the size and placement of different types of traps and snares that have caught and sometimes killed federally protected Canada lynx. The agreement also prohibits the use of fresh meat or feathers as bait and mandates bobcat trappers check their traps at least once every 48 hours.

According to the best available science, these changes will significantly reduce and hopefully eliminate the risk of lynx being trapped and limit the possibility of serious injury or mortality if a lynx is caught.

“The agreement is a common-sense approach to protecting lynx from cruel, indiscriminate traps,” said Bethany Cotton, wildlife program director for WildEarth Guardians. “The restrictions in place under the settlement are working just as anticipated and will continue to protect lynx, despite the trappers’ baseless attempts to undermine safeguards for the imperiled cats.

“The agreement also maintains the current closure of the wolverine trapping season in Montana with a requirement to consider the best available science before the season can be re-opened.”

Full press release:…/
Photo: Animal Welfare Institute

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