Defenders Offers Reward For Information Leading To Lynx Killer

(07/20/1999) - Defenders of Wildlife today announced that it would offer a $1,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for shooting a recently released lynx in Colorado.

The male lynx, released May 14, had been part of a program to help return lynx populations in Colorado to healthy levels. Defenders' reward supplements the award already offered by Colorado Division of Wildlife's Operation Game Thief program.

"Regardless of how individuals feel about the reintroduction, all would agree that illegal shooters should be brought to justice," said Defenders President Rodger Schlickeisen. "By offering this reward, we want to make it very clear that illegal shootings of this type that further jeopardizes this highly endangered species will not be tolerated."

The lynx was shot west of Antonio in the San Luis Valley and was discovered on June 18 when its radio collar began emitting a mortality signal. Despite the fears of ranchers that lynx will hurt their businesses, as yet there have been no known interactions between lynx and livestock. The primary prey of the lynx is the snowshoe hare, abundant in the mountain regions of Colorado.

"With any reintroduction program some natural losses are expected," says Bob Ferris, Director of Species Conservation at Defenders of Wildlife. "But this is an extremely severe case of an illegal action taken against a native species that already was having trouble surviving. There is no excuse for this action." Lynx were first released in Colorado early in 1999. After a few initial setbacks, the program was re-examined and adjusted and subsequent releases of animals have been more successful. It is hoped that within several years, the released lynx will rebuild a thriving Colorado population.

If anyone has information relating to this case, they should contact the Colorado Division of Wildlife's Operation Game Thief program toll free at 1(800)332-4155.



Cat Lazaroff, (202) 772-3270