BOZEMAN, Mont. — In response to two lawsuits, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has again proposed protected critical habitat for Canada lynx in six states, including Maine, according to a press release issued by three conservation groups.
A total of 26.6 million acres is proposed as critical habitat for the cats, an increase from the 24.960,000 acres that were designated similarly in 2009. The increase was due to the addition of areas in northeastern Maine and Wyoming.
“Like many animals, Canada lynx need quiet places free of disturbance from snowmobiles and other human activities to survive, so we’re thrilled the Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed expanding their critical habitat,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “These unique cats need every acre of the critical habitat designated and more if they are to avoid extinction in the United States.”
According to the release, the new designation is a result of court challenges by snowmobile associations in Wyoming and Washington. The snowmobile groups had sought to nullify the previous designation of areas as critical habitat; Three conservation groups – the Center for Biological Diversity, Earthjustice and Conservation Northwest — intervened, seeking continued protection of lynx habitat.
in that suit to ensure continued protection of lynx habitat. Separately, the Sierra Club and Alliance for the Wild Rockies challenged the designation for not encompassing a sufficient area.
The USFWS said it is considering excluding 1,225,600 acres on tribal, state and private lands based on management of those lands.
“Lynx need habitat to survive,” said Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso, in the release. “We’re relieved legal protections are staying in place to protect the habitat that is critical for the conservation of this rare forest cat.”
Earthjustice submitted the legal intervention request on behalf of Defenders of Wildlife, Center for Biological Diversity, Conservation Northwest, Friends of the Wild Swan, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance and the Lands Council.