by Eve Byron, Independent Record
Four conservation organizations filed a notice Tuesday of their intent to sue the state, claiming that allowing trapping in Montana kills and injures Canada lynx, which is a species listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.
In a news release, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, the WildEarth Guardians, the Friends of the Wild Swan and the Native Ecosystem Council said that at least nine Montana lynx have been captured since the species was listed in March 2000, and four are known to have died from trapping.
The conservation groups allege that trapping and snaring in occupied lynx habitat is illegal because Montana has not exercised “due care” to prevent harm to lynx as required by the Endangered Species Act.
Mike Garrity, executive director for the Alliance, said with the first wolf trapping season in recent history starting this fall and an increase in the value of bobcat hides, they anticipate more trappers will be in the field now.
“Wolf traps are a lot bigger than bobcat traps, and if a lynx gets caught in a wolf trap, it’s much more likely to get its legs broken,” Garrity said. “And with bobcat pellets going from $400 to $600 per pelt, there’s a lot of money to be made so there will be a lot more bobcat traps out there.
“The wolf traps aren’t the only problem, but they’ll make it a lot worse.”
The 60-day notice of intent to sue was sent to the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission and FWP Director Joe Maurier; Gov. Brian Schweitzer; and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.