Maine to create 22,000 acre habitat for Canada lynx

Posted courtesy of: WBLZ2.  Original article available here.

AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has permitted Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to continue its trapping programs, despite the risk of taking the protected Canada lynx. Maine is the first state to have an “incidental take” plan for Canada lynx.

“People can continue to enjoy one of Maine’s long traditions, furbearer trapping, while taking steps to avoid harming Canada lynx and supporting a larger effort to provide habitat that helps us recover the species,” said Assistant Regional Director Paul Phifer of the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region. “This illustrates how the Endangered Species Act allows for some flexibility when applicants have demonstrated that they have minimized and mitigated the effects on protected wildlife.”

Trapping for common species like coyote or fox, creates a risk of incidentally taking a Canada lynx. An “incidental take permit” allows for trapping to continue as part of the regulated trapping program and the Maine IFW will take measures to minimize the taking of the lynx. The take of the lynx will be offset by providing a 22,000-acre lynx habitat on state’s Seboomook Unit in nnorthernMaine.

“Our analysis through the permitting process confirmed that trapping does not pose a significant threat to Maine’s lynx population,” Phifer said. “The most important factor to maintaining a healthy population of lynx in Maine is having sufficient habitat, which is why the plan focuses on managing habitat for mitigation.”

Maine IFW said that incidental take plans, known also as habitat conservation plans, identify the impacts to specific species from a project or program.