The lynx: To list or not to list?
You may be seeing more of the elusive Canada lynx if
conservationists have their way. Groups such as the Biodiversity
Legal Foundation have long argued that this cousin of the bobcat
needs protection under the Endangered Species Act. Last spring, a
federal judge ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect
the lynx. The agency has until next June to decide if the cat is
"endangered" or just "threatened." Protecting the lynx could be the
largest endangered species effort ever for federal land managers,
sprawling across 53 national forests and 24 Bureau of Land
Management districts. The lynx historically ranged in forests along
the Northern tier states, as far south as Utah and Colorado in the
Rockies. But no one knows how to manage for the benefit of the cat.
"There's not a lot of information to base management programs on,"
says Bill Ruediger, a Forest Service biologist in charge of the
interagency lynx biology team. Protecting the cat could involve
curtailing road building, timber harvesting, mining, dam building,
home building, recreation, snowmachine travel and trapping, says
Ruediger. "There is no big plan to keep people off federal land,"
he adds. "I'd be surprised if there are any restrictions at all."
Not everyone agrees. "It's another spotted owl surrogate," warns
Dave Skinner, spokesman for People For The
The public comment period for listing the
lynx ends Nov. 16. For information call Lori Nordstrom at the Fish
and Wildlife Service in Helena, Mont., at 406/449-5225, ext. 208.
Send comments to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Lynx), 100 North
Park, Suite 320, Helena, MT 59601.