Debunking Lynxgate

Details of "the great biofraud," as the Washington Times dubbed the affair, emerged just before Christmas of last year. Wildlife scientists in Washington State were accused of "planting" clumps of wild lynx fur in national forests. Supposedly the fraud was planned so the Endangered Species Act could be invoked to close the forest to campers and loggers. In reality, as government employees have insisted ever since the beginning, the whole story is a fabrication. Outside magazine "interviewed 25 scientists, investigators, and policy makers familiar with the incident, and reviewed all the relevant reports. What emerges is not a scientific scandal but a case study in media-amplified demagoguery. There is no evidence whatsoever to support either a conspiracy or a cover-up. The scientists didn't 'plant' lynx fur in the forests. They didn't plot to invoke the Endangered Species Act through falsified data. And even if they had, it wouldn't have worked."