Protecting the Canada Lynx

Environmental law clinic working to protect the Canada lynx
The ENRLC is working to stop the killing and injuring of
Canada lynx,
a threatened species, from Maine's wildlife trapping program.

The Canada lynx is an important predator in Northern Forests, known for its ability to hunt snowshoe hares in deep snow. Historically, Canada lynx were common across the Northern United States, but its populations have plummeted due to trapping and loss of habitat from forest practices and development. Northern Maine is the only remaining breeding area in the Northeastern United States for this rare and protected species.

Each year Maine trappers targeting coyotes, foxes, mink, and other animals kill and seriously injure Canada lynx. Because lynx are protected under the Endangered Species Act, the State of Maine cannot allow such harm to lynx without an "incidental take permit" issued by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. In November 2014 the USFWS issued a Permit to the State of Maine – the first lynx Permit ever issued that allows harm to this species from a trapping program, and a potential model for similar permit requests in Minnesota, Montana, and Wyoming.

In August 2015, the Clinic filed a complaint against the United States Fish and Wildlife Service in the United States District Court for the District of Maine. The Clinic's clients, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Wildlife Alliance of Maine, and the Animal Welfare Institute, seek stronger protections for the lynx including requiring changes in trapping methods and the protection of additional habitat.

The lawsuit challenges the Permit issued to the State as inadequate to minimize and mitigate the impacts of Maine's trapping programs, in violation of .the Endangered Species Act, and as lacking a thorough analysis of environmental impacts, in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act.

Summary Judgment briefing was completed in August 2016, and oral argument was held in Bangor at the United States District Court for the District of Maine in November 2016. Stay tuned for more updates!

SELECTED PLEADINGS

Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief (August 2015)

Amended Complaint (December 2015)

CBD et al. Motion for Summary Judgment (Memorandum of Law) (May 2016)

CBD et al. Response-Motion for Summary Judgment (July 2016)

CBD et al. Reply-Motion for Summary Judgment (August 2016)