April 24, 2019

Canada Lynx in Maine “Above Historic Levels” – Feds Stonewalling ITP

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LynxThe protection of the Canada lynx in Maine and other regions of the country, is an excellent example of some of what is terribly wrong with the Endangered Species Act. Section 3 (20) states: “The term “threatened species” means any species which is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.”

The same wording is applied to the term, “endangered species.” I chose “threatened species” as the Canada lynx in Maine is classified by the Feds as “threatened.”

What is most often overlooked by environmental zombies, whose purpose is to end all activities human, is the reference “a significant portion of its range.” To declare the lynx in Maine “threatened” and therefore protected by the Federal Government is a joke and makes a sham of the entire purpose of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The state of Maine may opt to protect the lynx within their borders but to do so shows a lack of understanding of species range and therefore can only be explained as politically or agenda driven (We can add money-making to this list).

In 1999, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) began a study of the Canada lynx. That assessment, completed in 2012, is available on the MDIFW website. The authors of the assessment openly state that the lynx in Maine sits on the very outer edge of the cats’ “historic range.” Maps made available on the MDIFW website of the Lynx Assessment clearly show the “historic range” of Canada lynx in North America and any half blind person, with nearly zero math and geography skills, can conclude that that tiny portion of Maine, being at the outer edges of lynx range, is but a drop in the bucket compared to the total historic range. And while Canada lynx thrive in a “significant portion of its range” activists and greedy biologists overlook the obvious for personal goals and political agendas, and we the tax payer pay for it and allow it.

In addition to the range issue, one of the biologists undertaking the lynx study, points out that there are many factors that attribute to the population fluctuations of lynx in Maine. Lynx require a specific kind of habitat and their favorite food, the snowshoe hare. Generally speaking, when the hare is gone, so too are the lynx; retreating to the north where the food is. With this knowledge does it make much sense to implement government restrictions on Maine people in hopes of somehow protecting a species that doesn’t need protecting? That historically has produced a roller coaster ride of population numbers due to so many variables, many of which we humans cannot control?

But there’s a lot more to this story than whether or not the ESA is administered as it was intended. In Maine, once the political lynching of a former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) head was complete, environmentalists moved in to get much of Maine designated as Canada lynx critical habitat. Among putting restrictions on landowners, it would eventually have a great influence on trapping, the elimination of the use of snares and a drastic reduction in the ability of trappers to catch coyotes, that with overgrown numbers were raising the dickens with the whitetail deer herd and still are.

Animal rights activists and environmentalists sued the State of Maine to stop all trapping because the activity was threatening the Canada lynx in their opinions. The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) et. al. believed continued trapping met the definition of “harassment” under the guidelines of the ESA.

An agreement was reached between the State of Maine and AWI, in which Maine made changes to the size of traps, among other rules, that would better protect the Canada lynx. That consent decree was signed on October 20, 2010. More on the specifics of the Consent Decree in a moment.

According to the Lynx Assessment, Maine currently sees historically high populations of Canada lynx. It is estimated over 1,000 lynx live in the Pine Tree State. In addition, in Northern and Western Maine, these areas offer, at present, a carrying capacity of between 1,100 and 1,800 lynx, according to the Assessment.

With so many lynx present in Maine, a rational human being might ask why the lynx is a protected species. That is a good question and the only answer I can offer is that more than likely the Canada lynx will remain a protected species because it has, 1.) become a great tool for the environmentalists and animal rights groups. While these groups want to end trapping, hunting, fishing and any “consumptive” outdoor sport, they also understand that incremental destruction of the outdoor sporting heritage is quite effective. Environmentalists, under the support and control of the power brokers in Washington and New York, will prevail in the long term. They always do. 2.) It’s a great money maker for these groups filing lawsuit after lawsuit in order to get what they know the Feds and the Courts will give them in the end. It’s quite a racket actually.

Also bear in mind that in order for any species to be listed as “threatened” or “endangered” it must meet certain criteria. In order for a species to be removed from protection of the ESA, the same criteria must have been resolved. So, the question I want to know is when the criteria for listing is not adhered to, what hope is there it will be when it comes time to delist?

Due to the lawsuit filed by AWI, the Commissioner of the MDIFW opted to place a ban on the use of snares. Snaring around deer wintering areas during periods of deep snow, was a very effective way of mitigating the losses of deer by coyotes. How the ban actually worked its way into the Maine Code is a lesson in corrupt politics and slimy, back door shenanigans by politicians and what appears to be MDFIW employees.

According to the Consent Decree that I spoke of earlier:

The consent decree remains in effect unless and until the FWS [USFWS] acts favorably on Maine’s application for a federal “incidental take permit”

An Incidental Take Permit (ITP) is a permit issued by the USFWS, with guidelines to protect a species, set up through negotiations, to also protect the state and sportsmen from lawsuits that might be filed due to the accidental “taking” of a protected species.

From the time that the Feds listed the Canada lynx in Maine as a “threatened” species, sportsmen have been hounding the MDIFW to apply for and get an ITP. The application process began in 2006. We are now in the year 2014 and according to the Lynx Assessment:

The USFWS reviewed MDIFW’s application and has prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) of the Department’s application as required by law. A 90-day public comment period on the Department’s
ITP application and USFWS’ EA closed on February 7, 2012. As of July 2012, the USFWS is responding to approximately 350 unique comment from the more than 6,000 comments received and preparing their findings before making a determination on our permit.

And there is no guarantee that the USFWS will issue an ITP. Why not? For one, they probably just don’t want to. And two, from the very moment that Maine applied for an ITP, corruption was rampant among certain employees of the MDIFW. One such employee now works for the USFWS and I’m sure is instrumental in prohibiting or at least stonewalling the process of Maine receiving an ITP.

The Consent Decree prohibits the MDIFW commissioner from making any changes to trapping laws. In communications I have had with the current commissioner, he claims he has the authority to implement snaring as a tool to manage predators and game species. I disagree but at this point it matters not so long as Maine is hamstrung by the Consent Decree. And, Maine will remain in that condition until such time that the Feds issue that all important ITP. Will they? Even now with lynx at historic high numbers, what reason do they have not to? It seems a heck of a lot more that they had to list the lynx as threatened in the beginning. But that’s rationalizing. Something government does not do.

It’s been 8 years since Maine began its application process for an ITP. This is government bureaucracy at its finest, along with the politics of environmentalism; a disease that runs rampant in all of our federal as well as state fish and wildlife agencies.

For some the frustration level is very high on this issue. All I can say is don’t hold your breath. If the day ever comes that Maine receives an ITP, nothing is going to change, at least significantly, as it pertains to trapping/snaring regulations. One can, however, expect that within a short time of the issuance of an ITP, another lawsuit against trapping will be filed. There is never any ending to this nonsense. It’s a way of life.

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