Minnesota put on notice over incidental trapping of lynx

Five Canada lynx walk down a road near Tofte on Saturday morning.
Five Canada lynx walk down a road near Tofte, Minn.
Courtesy of Thomas J. Spence

Updated: 3:52 p.m.

An environmental group has put the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on notice that it plans to sue the agency for failing to protect Canada lynx from trappers.

The Center for Biological Diversity filed a 60-day notice on Wednesday as required by federal law before it can file a lawsuit to try to force the state to follow the Endangered Species Act. The notice says the state has failed to comply with a 2008 federal court order that's meant to protect lynx from being caught by trappers seeking other species.

The group says state and federal agencies have documented captures of 16 lynx over the past decade in traps that were set for other species in northern Minnesota, including six that resulted in deaths of the rare cats.

The center cites a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report that puts Minnesota's Lynx population at between 50 and 200. The DNR says the number present at any given time is not known, but genetic analysis in recent years has identified nearly 100 individual lynx in the state.

“We received the Center for Biological Diversity’s Notice of Intent to Sue this morning. We believe we are in full compliance with the federal Endangered Species Act and the 2008 court order pertaining to the Canada lynx and trapping within Minnesota’s lynx zone,” said Deputy Commissioner Barb Naramore. “We will be reviewing the Notice of Intent to Sue and other relevant information available to us.”

MPR News reporter Dan Gunderson contributed to this story.

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