Sunday, 14 September 2014

Call for greater protection of endangered lynx in the US

New rules reduce rare wild cat’s critical habitat despite extending legal protection in 48 states, conservationists say

theguardian.com, Friday 12 September 2014 11.48 BST

The US federal government will extend protection to all imperilled Canada lynx in the lower 48 states, but wildlife advocates said on Thursday it was ignoring important parts of the rare cats’ range and vowed to challenge the move in court.

Thickly furred lynx roam through high country from Maine to Washington and south through the Rocky Mountains. They are classified as threatened in the lower 48 states under the Endangered Species Act.

Amid calls from conservation groups for greater protections, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) said in a rule to be published on Friday that it was extending the act’s protection to all lynx “where found” in the contiguous United States. The law broadly bans killing or injuring imperiled animals without a special permit.

“Our final rule provides the lynx, one of only seven wild cat species in the nation, with what it needs to persist and thrive for future generations of Americans,” said Noreen Walsh, the service’s regional director for the Mountain Prairie region.

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