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E-M:/ Conservationists Intend to Challenge Lynx ESA Decision

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

Following up on previous postings about the listing of the Canadian Lynx as
a federally threatened species, here is a press releases regarding a
challenge to that listing as inadequate, particularly citing the Great
Lakes region, and discussing concerns that affect the recovery prospects in

May 3, 2000

Contact: Sara Folger, Predator Conservation Alliance: 406-587-3389; 

Conservationists Intend to Challenge Lynx ESA Decision

Today, a coalition of 13 conservation groups and one individual 
notified the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) of their intent to 
challenge the legal and scientific adequacy of the agency's 
Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing rule regarding the Canada Lynx, 
a rare forest cat.  The coalition contends that although the lynx is 
now listed as "threatened", FWS failed to ensure the cat's survival 
and recovery throughout its historic range in the lower 48 states.

"Our interpretation of the recent decision is that the most imperiled 
lynx in the country are getting the least protections. Even where 
there are some protections, those are limited to improving forest 
planning, rather than addressing many other threats known to 
jeopardize lynx survival," said Sara Folger, Conservation Program 
Director for the Bozeman, MT - based Predator Conservation Alliance.

Conservationists are particularly troubled by three aspects of the 
final rule: first, FWS's conclusion that three-quarters of the known 
historic range of the lynx -- the Northeast, Great Lakes and southern 
Rockies, and non-federal lands in those regions -- are not necessary 
for the species' recovery; second, FWS's refusal to list the lynx as 
"endangered" throughout the contiguous U.S., despite multiple threats 
to its survival; and third, the agency's failure to designate 
critical habitat for the species.

Folger added, "Essentially, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - the 
agency responsible for protection and restoration of imperiled 
species - will treat the lynx as 'threatened' only on paper. Few real 
conservation measures will be implemented on the ground, especially 
outside the northern Rockies and Cascade Mountains in Washington 
State, and this is not acceptable."

In 1994, conservationists petitioned the FWS to list the lynx under 
the ESA. After years of legal and administrative wrangling, on March 
13, 2000, FWS issued a final rule listing lynx in the contiguous U.S. 
as "threatened."

"It took six years and three lawsuits to get the lynx listed as 
threatened," said PCA Executive Director, Tom Skeele. "That should 
indicate that Americans are not willing to turn their backs on this 
native predator, even though FWS seems willing to abandon 
conservation efforts for the lynx in most of its historic range."

Groups filing the notice of intent to sue include Predator 
Conservation Alliance, Defenders of Wildlife, American Lands 
Alliance, Biodiversity Legal Foundation, Conservation Action Project, 
Friends of the Clearwater, The Fund for Animals, Humane Society of 
the U.S., Kettle Range Conservation Group, Mark Skatrud, Northwest 
Ecosystem Alliance, Oregon Natural Resources Council, Restore: The 
North Woods and Superior Wilderness Action Network.

Predator Conservation Alliance works to conserve, protect, and 
restore native predators and their habitats in the northern Rockies 
and High Plains.  For more information, visit 

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