Canada Lynx Restoration

The Canada lynx, a brownish-gray cat usually weighing less than thirty pounds and distinguished by its long black ear tufts, once ranged throughout much of the Northeast and Northwest forests. Today its numbers have dwindled to only several hundred scattered individuals, with the last remaining populations in Maine, Montana, Idaho, and Washington.

For almost a decade, conservation groups from around the country, including RESTORE, have been using legal means to pressure the US Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the lynx under the Endangered Species Act in 16 of the lower 48 states. Finally, this hard work paid off. In March 2000, the Canada lynx was protected under the Endangered Species Act.

However, on-the-ground efforts to recover this species are proceeding at a very slow pace. Although the lynx is now listed as “threatened,” the US Fish and Wildlife Service has dismissed the Northeast as a low priority area, and they failed to address multiple threats to the species or designate critical habitat. On this basis, the conservation community is continuing to use legal pressure to ensure that the Canada lynx gets the full protection that it deserves.

With suitable habitat and abundant prey, Maine represents the best opportunity in the northeast for the survival and eventual recovery of the lynx. Through a federal grant, the state has received funding to do research, which is essential to determine necessary actions to achieve species recovery. However, more active recovery steps must be implemented immediately to ensure that the lynx and its wild habitat is restored.

What You Can Do:

Please contact the USFWS and tell them the Canada lynx deserves to be protected as an endangered species.

Paul Nickerson
US Fish and Wildlife Service
500 Westgate Center Drive
Hadley, MA 01035

 Photo courtesy of Predator Conservation Alliance