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Lynx Get Additional Protections From Trapping In Montana

Canada lynx.

The threatened Canada lynx was given more protection this week in a settlement that will put greater restrictions on trapping in some parts of Montana.

Tuesday’s settlement between the State of Montana and conservation groups ends a 2013 lawsuit that claimed the State didn’t protect lynx from trapping.

Fifteen trapped lynx have been reported since 2001. Five of those trappings resulted in the animal’s death.

That is unacceptable, says Arlene Montgomery of Friends of the Wild Swan.

"Lynx are a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. And it is illegal to take lynx and so that is why we sued Fish, Wildlife and Parks."

A “lynx protection zone” in northwest Montana and the Greater Yellowstone region will limit the size and placement of traps.

The judge overseeing the case says trappers may be left with obsolete traps and may ultimately trap fewer animals.

The Montana Trappers Association was not available for comment.

Since filing this story, we received comment from the Montana Trappers Association. President of Montana Trappers Association Toby Walrath opposed the settlement and says his organization should have had a stronger voice in the decision.

“It is our professional opinion that there are much better ways to go about it to reach the goals that they are trying to obtain by the restructuring of new trapping regulations in the critical lynx habitat areas.”

One of the objections the Trappers Association had with the settlement is the issue of trap size. Walrath says a smaller trap doesn’t guarantee a safer trap for a lynx. He says what should have been discussed was the style of trap and a trap’s specific features. See thelynx protection zones here.

Corin Cates-Carney manages MTPR’s daily and long-term news projects. After spending more than five years living and reporting across Western and Central Montana, he became news director in early 2020.
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