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Washington State Lists Canada Lynx as Endangered

Date
December 14, 2016
Contact
Bethany Cotton, (406) 414-7227 bcotton@wildearthguardians.org
In This Release
Wildlife

Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Washington State Lists Canada Lynx as Endangered

Rare Cats
Contact: Bethany Cotton, (406) 414-7227 bcotton@wildearthguardians.org

Additional Contacts:

JohnMellgren, Western Environmental Law Center, 541-359-0990, mellgren@westernlaw.org
Nick Cady, Cascadia Wildlands, 314-482-3746, nick@cascwild.org
Timothy Coleman, Kettle Range Conservation Group,509-675-3556, tcoleman@kettlerange.org


Seattle – Late last week, theWashington Fish and Wildlife Commission voted unanimously to list Canada lynxas “endangered” under the state equivalent of the Endangered Species Act. Thismove comes as estimates for the state population of lynx fall to an estimated54 individuals. The Canada lynx was previously listed as “threatened,” howeverpopulation declines and habitat degradation have led the species to the brinkof extirpation in Washington.

Although listed as “threatened”under the federal Endangered Species Act in 2000, endangered status under statelaw affords the species with additional protections from the state ofWashington.

“Although we are saddenedthat Canada lynx in Washington have declined to the point where endangeredspecies protections are necessary, we wholeheartedly applaud the Commission forrecognizing that the lynx needs and deserves enhanced protections inWashington,” said John Mellgren, attorney at the Western Environmental LawCenter.

Canada lynx, medium-sizedmembers of the feline family, are habitat and prey specialists. Heavily relianton snowshoe hare, lynx tend to be limited in both population and distributionto areas where hare are sufficiently abundant. Like their preferred prey, lynxare specially adapted to living in mature boreal forests with dense cover anddeep snowpack. The species and its habitat are threatened by climate change,logging, development, motorized access, and trapping, which disturb andfragment the landscape, increasing risks to lynx and their prey.

“With increasing threats fromclimate change and development, it’s long past time lynx receive every possibleprotection; we commend the Commission for taking this important step,” saidBethany Cotton, wildlife program director for WildEarth Guardians. “Futureactions to aid lynx recovery in Washington will have the added benefits ofprotecting habitat shared by many other species, and helping the state becomemore climate resilient.”

“With the absence of federalleadership on imperiled wildlife issues, it will become increasingly importantfor state agencies to take the initiative to protect and foster the recovery oficonic species like Canada lynx,” said Nick Cady, legal director of CascadiaWildlands. “We are really encouraged to see the state of Washington take thereins and add increased protections for lynx.”

“The Kettle Crest hasWashington’s best lynx habitat, and these protections will help foster recoveryof the species in this important, and wild part of the state,” said TimothyColeman, executive director for Kettle Range Conservation Group.

The Western Environmental LawCenter, WildEarth Guardians, Cascadia Wildlands, and Kettle Range ConservationGroup submitted comments tothe Commission in support of listing Canada lynx earlier this year.

Other Contact
John Mellgren, Western Environmental Law Center, 541-359-0990, mellgren@westernlaw.org Nick Cady, Cascadia Wildlands, 314-482-3746, nick@cascwild.org Timothy Coleman, Kettle Range Conservation Group, 509-675-3556, tcoleman@kettlerange.org
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