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ME: Authorities Investigate Slaying of Endangered Lynx

October 30, 2009

Authorities Investigate Slaying of Endangered Lynx 10/30/2009 12:09 PM ET The cat was shot to death after being caught in a trap set for a fox or coyote.

State and federal officials are investigating the killing of an endangered Canada lynx in a wooded area north of Rangeley. The cat was found shot to death October 21st after being caught in a trap.

Officials with the state's Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife say they're investigating the incident in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Canada lynx have been listed as a threatened species under the Federal Endangered Species Act since 2000.

Conservationists say they're dismayed by the shooting. Daryl Dejoy of the Wildlife Alliance of Maine says the lynx was shot in the trap by a passing bird hunter, though state officials declined to confirm that, citing the ongoing investigation.

Dejoy says there are very few of the cats left in Maine. "Trapping them is illegal, whether it's on purpose or incidentally," Dejoy says. "And certainly what the hunter did, which was to blatantly kill a lynx -- in my opinion, he should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law."

Biologists estimate that there are between 200 and 500 Canada lynx in Maine. The Wildlife Alliance of Maine and the Washington, D.C.- based Animal Welfare Institute are suing the state for allowing traps capable of catching Canada Lynx. The court case is pending.

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