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E-M:/ Canada lynx listed as Threatened under Fed End. Spec.Act

Enviro-Mich message from anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org

I don't think I have seen an actual announcement of this previously, and 
hope this doesn't duplicate other postings.  Unless there has been some 
action taken that has held it up, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has 
listed the Canada lynx as a threatened species in the 48 contiguous states. 
A March letter from the USFWS East Lansing Field Office cites the agency's 
finding that the most important factor threatening lynx in the contiguous 
US is "lack of guidance to conserve lynx and lynx habitat in federal land 
management plans."  

Michigan is native territory for the lynx, which haunts the north and 
thrives on deep snow in remote habitat.  Sightings of the lynx in Michigan 
have been disputed in recent times, and so like the wolf the challenge will 
be restoration of habitat and removal of threats to this animal's survival 
and recolonization of Michigan.  One of the biggest threats appears to be 
roads and snowmobile trails which provide ready access to previously remote 
areas, allowing competition from the bobcat. Though smaller, the bobcat 
evidently is more aggressive than the lynx, and when in the same area the 
bobcat outcompetes the lynx.  The lynx's remarkable snowshoe feet has 
previously allowed it to do well in deep snow, while the bobcat could not 
get around.  The packed down snow of snowmobile trails and roads has 
confounded that advantage, creating a problem for restoration of the lynx.

Forest plans on the National Forests in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, in 
particular, will be influenced by this decision. The Forest Service did 
raise issues relating to lynx habitat in the plans adopted in the 1980's 
but the decision to list the species provides more teeth.  By the way, the 
listing was the result of repeated wins in court by the Defenders of 
Wildlife, and is the culmination of many, many years of work.

Anne Woiwode

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