Saturday, September 23, 2006

Minnesota DNR sued over trapping laws

Group says endangered species vulnerable

BY DENNIS LIEN - Pioneer Press

A national animal-protection group has sued the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, contending the agency isn't doing enough to stop the accidental trapping of bald eagles, Canada lynx and gray wolves. In a suit filed earlier this week in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, the Animal Protection Institute accused the DNR of violating the federal Endangered Species Act by allowing people to use traps and snares that injure and sometimes kill those federally protected species.

At least 24 eagles were caught in Minnesota in traps set for other animals between 1990 and 2006, many of them having to be destroyed, according to the lawsuit. At least 13 lynx have been trapped since 2002, as well as an undetermined number of wolves.

"We believe the records we've obtained are just the tip of the iceberg," said Camilla Fox, the California-based institute's director of wildlife programs. "For every reported nontarget animal that falls victim to a trap, there are likely many that go unreported.''

Saying the state allows trapping in areas frequented by bald eagles, lynx and wolves, the lawsuit asks the court to stop the state from allowing the kind of trapping that harms those creatures.

A DNR spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Jay Tutchton, a Colorado-based lawyer representing the institute, said the group isn't arguing that other animals can't be trapped, just not those protected by the Endangered Species Act. Earlier this year, the institute sent a letter of intent to sue to persuade the DNR to take immediate steps to protect threatened species. But it said the agency never responded.

  • Pioneer Press

    Blogger MLMulter said...

    I have a dog that got caught in a trappers snare last week. I got to wondering what else he has caught in that snare we don't know about. We live in the middle of nowhere. I found a skinned coyote laying there just yesterday. Who knows what he would have done to my dog if I hadn't found her. A lot of foot traps laying around the area too.

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