Canada lynx are made for hunting in deep snow, with thick cushions of hair on the soles of their feet that act like built-in snowshoes. Appropriately enough, this adaptation helps them stalk their favorite prey, the snowshoe hare — unlike any other cat, the Canada lynx relies almost exclusively on the snowshoe hare for food. But lynx aren't only predators; they've also fallen prey to trapping, especially when wearing spotted cat fur became all the rage in the 60s and 70s. Today Canada lynx are still caught in traps set for other species, and their habitat is fast disappearing.
Luckily for the lynx, vast swaths of its habitat will soon get protection: After work in court by the Center and allies, in September 2013 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to designate 26 million acres of federally protected critical habitat for the species. This is much more than was originally proposed in the spring of 2000 — when the lynx was finally granted Endangered Species Act protection after one petition and two lawsuits were filed on the lynx's behalf. We're still pushing the Service to issue a recovery plan.
The Center has done plenty of other work to help this valiant but vulnerable predator. For example, in March 2008, thanks to a Center lawsuit, a judge had ruled that Minnesota was in violation of the Endangered Species Act by allowing traps that harm and kill Canada lynx. The court ordered the state to take all action necessary to ensure that no more lynx are killed by traps within core lynx habitat. After another Center lawsuit, in January 2015 a federal judge ordered Idaho officials to develop trapping restrictions that prevent Canada lynx from being illegally hurt or killed across more than 20,000 square miles of the state's Panhandle and Clearwater regions. A lawsuit filed in 2017 by the Center and allies challenged the land exchange between the U.S. Forest Service and PolyMet, which would facilitate construction of an open pit copper mine within critical habitat for the Canada lynx and gray wolf on the Superior National forest in northeastern Minnesota.
We continue our work to make sure this wild cat's hide and habitat are as protected as possible.
2015 lawsuit against the Fish and Wildlife Service
2013 critical habitat proposal
2009 critical habitat designation
2008 comments on critical habitat
2006 critical habitat designation
2000 federal Endangered Species Act listing
1994 finding against listing