Lynx carcass leads to jail time

Posted July 30, 2009, at 9:48 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A Vermont man was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court to seven days in jail for having a Canada lynx carcass.

The lynx is a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

Minutes before being sentenced, Alan B. Clark Jr. 38, of South Hero, Vt., pleaded guilty to the federal misdemeanor crime of possession of unlawfully taken wildlife.

He began serving his sentence late Thursday afternoon at Penobscot County Jail.

“We have the Endangered Species Act to protect, restore and save these types of animals,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk said. “I do think this defendant deserves jail time. Just a fine would be a meaningless punishment.”

Clark admitted that nearly three years ago he took an animal carcass he knew was a lynx from Maine to a taxidermist in Vermont. Clark and others camped between Nov. 13 and 17, 2006, near Musquacook Stream in the North Maine Woods on a deer-hunting trip, according to court documents.

The taxidermist called the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department to report that Clark had left a lynx with her for mounting, according to court documents. She said Clark had told her he had shot the animal in Maine, thinking he was shooting at a coyote.

Clark admitted Thursday to Kravchuk that he knew the animal was a lynx when he took it to the taxidermist.

“I’ve learned from my mistake,” he told the judge. “I want to apologize for taking up the court’s time and the investigators’ time.”

Clark faced up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $25,000.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Lowell recommended that Clark serve a weeklong jail sentence and be ordered to pay a fine.

Clark’s Bangor attorney, Richard Hartley, urged Kravchuk to sentence his client to a few days in jail because of recent chronic health problems and his inability to work. Clark lives with his longtime fiancee and their two daughters, ages 2 and 4, Hartley told the judge.

The conviction will not affect Clark’s right to possess guns or prohibit him from hunting.

Clark was the third man in less than three years to be convicted of killing a lynx.

In 2007, Kravchuk sentenced two Van Buren men for a similar crime in November 2005.

The judge sentenced Ricky Learnard, 43, to 21 days in jail for shooting a lynx and Kevin L. Fortin, 59, to seven days in jail and ordered him to pay a $1,500 fine for having its pelt.

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