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Lynx Designated As Threatened Species In Contiguous US

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated the Canada lynx as threatened with extinction in the Continental United States. It has also reduced its critical habitat.

The Canada lynx is one of the few native cats in North America. Its habitat is specific to thick boreal forests that accumulate deep snow and are home to the lynx’s favorite food, snowshoe hare. It has enormous paws that it uses to traverse deep snow and elude predators with smaller feet. 

In 2000, the Fish and Wildlife Service determined the lynx was threatened in 14 states under the Endangered Species Act. Now, the designation applies to lynx across the country.

Environmentalist Drew Kerr says that while his organization applauds the expanded designation, they worry that about the decrease in its critical habitat. “Expanding protection not just to individual animals but to the landscape they rely on is really necessary,” Kerr says, “If we’re going to  recover the species and be able to take them off the list, and see them not just survive and persist in North America, but also thrive.”

Kerr says we need to think about the big picture. “I think it’s been said by far wiser people than me that when we pull one thread in the universe we see it resound. Certainly in the western landscape, nothing exists in isolation.  All of these species, all of these habitat types, are interconnected.”

He says lynx habitat is threatened by fragmentation due to factors like development and logging.

Erin Jones is Wyoming Public Radio's cultural affairs producer, as well as the host and senior producer of HumaNature. She began her audio career as an intern in the Wyoming Public Radio newsroom, and has reported on issues ranging from wild horse euthanization programs to the future of liberal arts in universities. Her audio work has been featured on WHYY Philadelphia’s The Pulse and the podcast Out There.
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