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Letter to the Editor: is Lynx for real?


The Manti LaSal National Forest Service recent find of Canadian Lynx hair in the Joes Valley area was quite a story.

I find it hard to believe that you can take a piece of carpet, spray it with lynx scent, nail it to a tree in a high use recreation area and get a lynx to come from Canada and rub against it.

In 1999, a scientist hired by the federal government submitted lynx hair samples supposedly found in the Oregon Cascades, farther south than where the animals were thought to exist.

Federal officials spent thousands of hours and tens of thousands of dollars trying to duplicate the finding, but found no evidence of the creatures. The hairs were never validated, the samples were thrown out, and the scientist was never paid.

Last year in another lynx hoax, seven government officials: three Forest Service employees, two U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials and two employees of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The officials planted three separate samples of Canadian lynx hair on rubbing posts used to identify existence of it in two national forests.

DNA testing of two of the samples matched that of a lynx living inside an animal preserve. The third DNA sample matched that of an escaped pet lynx being held in a federal office until its owner retrieved it.

Had the deception not been discovered, the government likely would have banned many forms of recreation and use of natural resources in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and Wenatchee National Forest in Washington state.

The Manti La Sal National Forest ecosystem group stated "that there is no indication that the hair sample found in the Joes Valley area is anything except real lynx hair, but we are checking to see if an escapee from a fur farm, or someone's pet found its way to the Joes Valley area". This sounds like the start of just another hoax.

The lynx listing and habitat study began in 1999 during the Clinton administration and concludes this year. I suspect the eco-group is running out of time to make the Canadian Lynx existence possible.

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