Foundation Joins Lynx Lawsuit to Protect Maine Trappers

On Friday, April 3, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation and the Maine Trappers Association filed to intervene in a lawsuit in Maine brought by the animal rights group, Friends of Animals.

The suit aims to strip the state of Maine of its Incidental Take Permit (ITP), which allows for a limited number of Canada lynx to be caught in traps without the state, or individual trappers, being held liable under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Without this protection, every time a lynx was accidentally caught in a legal trap, the trapper could face federal ESA penalties. 

Canada lynx, which are listed as a threatened species in the U.S. due to fragmented populations, are abundant just north of the border in Canada. In fact, there are many who believe that the lynx populations should be removed from the ESA altogether.

“This case is just another attempt by the animal rights crowd to stop trapping in Maine, even though this issue has already been decided by the courts,” said Evan Heusinkveld, USSA Foundation vice president of government affairs. “This is really a larger effort to set a precedent that could be used to stop hunting and fishing, too. If they can ban all trapping in the areas where the protected lynx calls home, then what’s to stop them from banning all fishing in a stream that contains an endangered fish species?”      

In 2006, USSA Foundation and our partners successfully defended trapping against a lawsuit brought by Animal Protection Institute (API).  Less than two years later, Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) filed a similar lawsuit, which also resulted in a favorable outcome for sportsmen.  Following the API and AWI lawsuits, the state of Maine petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to grant an ITP. The ESA allows the FWS to grant these permits, which authorize a limited take of protected species, when it happens incidentally to an otherwise lawful activity – in this case trapping.

“This is yet another effort to outright ban, or severely restrict, all trapping in Maine,” said Brian Cogill, president of the Maine Trappers Association. “I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that the animals rights crowd is back in Maine. They’ve tried twice to ban trapping through lynx lawsuits, and they’ve tried twice to stop bear trapping at the ballot box. We remain committed to fighting this lawsuit and protecting sportsmen and women in Maine.”

About the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation: The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation (USSAF) is a 501(c)3 organization and protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. USSAF is responsible for public education, legal defense and research.  Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to USSAF: Online, Facebook and Twitter.