Lawsuit settlement passes!
Thank you to WildEarth Guardian, Friends of the Wild Swan, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, all represented by Western Environmental Law Center and Montana FWP Commissioners for voting to support the lynx settlement agreement. This should help the lynx, the wolverine and other victims of trapping........a progressive and much needed start! Thank you to all that submitted comments and emails and those that spoke up in defense of the lynx. Lynx Settlement. Due to the indiscriminate nature of traps, protected species under the Endangered Species Act, also fall victim. Under federal law, it is illegal to trap lynx whether intentional or as "incidental." Yet, a minimum of 15 lynx were caught in traps in Montana since 2001. One was reported in December of 2014.
A lawsuit was filed on behalf of Friends of the Wild Swan, Alliance for the Wild Rockies and WildEarth Guardians in order to try to protect lynx in Montana and uphold the Endangered Species Act.
A settlement agreement has been reached with Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks and will be voted on by the FWP Commissioners. If it does not pass, it will go to court.
There is much to honor in this settlement and it can go a long way to help lynx. It establishes a “lynx protection zone” in occupied lynx habitat in northwest Montana and the Greater Yellowstone area (see attached map in the link). In the lynx protection zone, special trapping regulations will restrict the size and placement of different types of traps and snares and the use of fresh meat. Bait and attractants, such as feathers, must be 30 feet from the trap. Trappers targeting bobcats will be required to check their traps at least once every 48 hours.
- To truly protect the lynx, trapping would need to be extinguished.
- This settlement goes a long way to helping lynx and is much needed but needs to go further.
NECESSARY Additional Provisions:
- A 24 hour trap check is CRITICAL. Wildlife experts claim that after 24 hours in a trap, damage is done, i.e. frostbite. Please tell the Commissioners to avoid trapping injuries to lynx and potential death, a 24 hour trap check must be required.
- Quotas for bobcats need to be significantly reduced to avoid "incidental" catch of lynx in the protection zone.
- Experienced trappers report lynx will tear themselves up in a snare. Urge the Commissioners to prohibit snares in the lynx protection zone.
- Last year and again this year, in Montana, animals considerably bigger than pine marten, i.e. a bobcat and a fisher were reported caught and killed in conibear traps set for pine marten which are generally much smaller traps. Conibear traps are body crushing, unforgiving traps resulting in substantial injury and inevitable death whether to a paw, a snout, or neck. As tragically confirmed last year in Maine, the USFWS had previously tested the 4 inches in diameter leaning-pole setup with captive lynx and found the animals had no problem accessing deadly traps. Please insist Commissioners prohibit land, lean pole and elevated conibear sets in the lynx protection zone.
Photo courtesy USFWS
State shuts down most trapping in northern Maine after 2 lynx killed July 2, 2015- Bangor Daily NewsCross lines within the bold outlined area mark the proposed lynx protection zones.
REDUCED BOBCAT QUOTAS
Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks is proposing reducing quotas on bobcats in Regions 4, 5, 6. While total quotas annually run close to 2000 bobcats and beyond, these would lower it by 190. Bobcats are trapped for their prized fur for the foreign fur market trade in Russia and China. We support any reduction in the numbers of bobcats trapped. Historically, some of the regions not affected by this are the ones that go over quota. In addition, to help avoid "incidental" trapping of lynx, bobcat quotas need to be significantly reduced in the proposed lynx protection zone. Given the significant warranted concern of poaching of the lucrative bobcat, we question whether the change from submitting the whole skull to just the lower jaw will further compromise the difficulty in catching poachers. We don't currently have an answer.
- Fish and Wildlife Commission gives inital OK on trapping restrictions May 14, 2015- Bozeman Daily Chronicle (MICHAEL WRIGHT)
- Lynx lawsuit settlement to go out for public comment May 14, 2015- TOM KUGLIN Independent Record