A conservation group is suing Minnesota over its policies on animal trapping devices, alleging that its rules pose a serious risk to a threatened species of wildcat.
On Thursday, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a federal lawsuit against the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), saying the agency is "permitting trapping that harms Canada lynx."
According to a release from the organization, the DNR is in violation of a federal rule that makes trapping of Canada lynx — even if accidental — an "illegal 'take' under the Endangered Species Act," unless covered by a specific permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
In 2008, a federal court held Minnesota liable for "harm to lynx caused by trapping" after a similar lawsuit, ordering the state to obtain a permit from the Fish and Wildlife Service, but that permit was never obtained, the release says.
“We want to stop the senseless and sickening trapping of Minnesota’s imperiled lynx,” said Collette Adkins, the Center’s carnivore conservation director, in a statement. “Every year trappers set thousands of traps across Minnesota’s Northwoods, and every year rare wildlife like lynx suffer and die in these traps. State officials can’t keep letting these beautiful animals die like this.”
The group says that "a small number of trappers kill thousands of bobcats, pine martens and other wildlife" every year in Minnesota, "largely to sell their furs" — and notes that the trapping season for these animals officially opens on December 19.
Minnesota's current lynx population may be as low as 50, the release says.