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Judge approves DNR plan to protect lynx

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Judge approves DNR plan to protect lynx
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A federal judge has approved a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) plan that will protect lynx through additional restrictions on trapping east of U.S. Highway 53 in northeastern Minnesota.

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The plan, which was ordered by Judge Michael Davis, will protect this federally threatened species while still allowing trapping in Minnesota's lynx range.

"This ruling is reasonable and welcome news to Minnesota trappers," said Dave Schad, director of the DNR's Fish and Wildlife Division. "It means the DNR has taken seriously its responsibility to provide protection of the lynx without significantly compromising other trapping opportunities."

The plan, said Schad, stipulates numerous trapping regulations that closely mirror recommendations in an existing brochure developed by the DNR and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Complete details of new trapping regulations will be made available to trappers and placed on the DNR's Web site.

The Minnesota Trappers Association characterized the court ruling as great news in a message to its members. "This is not a 100 percent victory but a 90 percent victory," said Gary Meis, president of the Minnesota Trappers Association.

Monday's ruling follows Judge Davis' order of March 2008 that the DNR come up with a plan to protect the lynx from trappers pursuing other species and that it submit an application for an incidental take permit to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The order was a response to a lawsuit filed in 2006 by the Animal Protection Institute and the Center for Biological Diversity.

The DNR will continue to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on obtaining an incidental take permit. Meanwhile, upon implementation of the regulatory and programmatic changes in the state's proposal, the state will be in compliance with the Endangered Species Act, according to the court order.

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