Late on Friday, October 26, a federal court in Montana ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service failed to adequately protect imperiled Canada lynx from the impacts of trapping in violation of the Endangered Species Act. The Service must now take a hard look at imposing conditions that truly prevent lynx from trapping.
The Service regulates the export of pelts and other animal parts from bobcats and other “furbearers” in the U.S. using a permit and tagging system—in conjunction with states, Tribes, and individual trappers—through an international treaty (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna, or “CITES”). These pelts and animal parts are used in places including Russia and China for products like fur coats, which can require 50 bobcat pelts each. But the effects of this export program aren’t limited to bobcats: lynx are commonly caught in traps set for bobcats.
The Service issued a statement that specified how its export program affected lynx, as well as measures that would minimize its impact and how the Service would implement those measures. But the Service’s activities did not comply with this statement, a violation of the Endangered Species Act. The court’s message to the Service is loud and clear: the Service must take a more active role in preventing Canada lynx from being killed by trappers.
Read the press release.