At least four lynx have been killed by traps intended for other species
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A ski area expansion like Peak 6 might displace one or two lynx, but that’s nothing compared to the direct mortality that has occurred from legal trapping in Montana.
At least nine lynx have been caught in traps since the species was listed in 2000 and four are known to have died — as a result, four conservation groups say they will sue the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission for permitting the trapping.
“Montana has failed to safeguard lynx from the cruel vicissitudes of traps and snares, and that has resulted in the death and impairment of several animals, which impedes lynx recovery,” said Wendy Keefover, carnivore protection program director for WildEarth Guardians.
Canada lynx captured in body-gripping traps endure physiological and psychological trauma, dehydration, and exposure as well as injuries to bone and tissue that reduces their fitness and chances for persistence. Trapping is also a likely source of indirect mortality to lynx kits since adults harmed or killed by traps and snares cannot adequately feed and nurture their young.
“Crippled or dead lynx can’t take care of their young,” said Mike Garrity, executive director of The Alliance for the Wild Rockies. “If we want to get lynx off the Endangered Species list, we need species’ resuscitation, not more (deaths) and mutilations.”
Montana allows regulated trapping of a number of species throughout the year. 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.
“Lynx are particularly vulnerable to traps,” said Arlene Montgomery, program director of Friends of the Wild Swan. “Federal law requires Montana to contribute to lynx survival and recovery, but continued trapping does the exact opposite,” Montgomery said.