Conservation Groups Join State Agency To Offer $5,000 Reward for Lynx Poachers

Lynx chasing hare.  Eyewire Royalty Free image

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Second radio-collared lynx found shot near Silverton, Colorado, in early November

Denver, CO − Responding to news that the Colorado Division of Wildlife has found a second Canada lynx dead in southern Colorado in as many weeks, a coalition of conservation groups announced today that they are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the persons responsible for illegally killing these two rare wildcats.  Hoping to raise the stakes and expose the lynx poachers, the seven conservation groups committed to contribute $4,500 in addition to the $500 currently offered by the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s Operation Game Thief program. The Canada lynx is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act and federal law prohibits killing wild lynx.

Bob Thompson, assistant chief of law enforcement for the Colorado Division of Wildlife said,  “We are grateful to have the help of these conservation groups and their members in raising the ante.”

“The lynx is struggling for survival in Colorado,” said Jonathan Proctor, spokesperson for Defenders of Wildlife in Denver. “Every lynx that is killed sets back the recovery of this rare wild cat.”  Proctor pointed out that lynx had to be reintroduced to Colorado after trapping and habitat destruction drove the rare cat out of the state.

“Our children deserve to inherit a world where lynx and wolves again roam the wild, places where wildlife persist without persecution,” said Rob Edward, director of carnivore restoration for Sinapu.  “The people of Colorado are proud of the state’s lynx reintroduction program, and these killings are a slap in the face to us all,” said Edward.

“These poachers are stealing Colorado’s wildlife legacy from our children. It’s time for those who know who killed these animals to speak up and put an end to this thievery,” said Steve Torbit, senior scientist with the National Wildlife Federation.

Jacob Smith, executive director of the Center for Native Ecosystems, underscored the fact that lynx are protected under the Endangered Species Act, protections that reflect the many threats facing the survival of Canada lynx.  “These secretive cats are imperiled by ski area expansion, logging and road building in their forest homes, and numerous other threats,” said Smith.  “The last thing they need is to be gunned down by criminals.”

Local conservation groups, including Sinapu, Center for Native Ecosystems, San Juan Citizens Alliance, National Wildlife Federation, Wilderness Workshop, Colorado Wild, Southern Rockies Ecosystem Project, and Defenders of Wildlife collaborated to offer this substantial incentive to anyone with information regarding the lynx killing. Defenders of Wildlife’s $1,000 contribution comes from its Endangered Species Reward Fund established in 1997 to bring illegal predator killers to justice.

Tips on the lynx killings can be made anonymously through the Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-877-265-6648.

For further information on the recent lynx killings, please visit the Colorado Division of Wildlife website.
For more information, contact:

Rob Edward, Sinapu, 303.918.8073
Jonathan Proctor, Defenders of Wildlife, 303-825-0918
Bob Thompson, Colorado Division of Wildlife, 303.291.7342
Jacob Smith, Center for Native Ecosystems, 303.810.6017
Steve Torbit, National Wildlife Federation, 303.441.5157
Mark Pearson, San Juan Citizens Alliance 970.259.3583
Sloan Shoemaker, Wilderness Workshop, 970.963.3977
Ryan Demmy Bidwell, Colorado Wild, 970.385.9833
Michelle Zimmerman, Southern Rockies Ecosystem Project, 303.913.4234
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