Notice: I've taken a part-time job, and it's definitely affecting my blogging time. I'll continue to add content here as often as possible. Pertinent guest posts are always welcome.


Saturday, March 7, 2009

NCT Minnesota Region in Proposed Lynx Habitat

Canada lynx (photo from Fish & Wildlife Service)
based on a news article at

This plan would expand the national habitat range for the Canada Lynx to more than 23 times its current size — to 42,754 square miles across the northern states, including 8,226 square miles in Cook, Lake, Koochiching and St. Louis counties in Minnesota. The plan was published in late February in the Federal Register. Adult cats weigh between 18 and 23 pounds, and feed primarily on snowshoe hares.

The Canada lynx was named as a threatened species (a notch below endangered) in the continental U.S. in 2000 after conservation groups filed suit to protect it. Under the provisions of the Endangered Species Act, as a threatened species, critical habitat must be designated for the animal. That listing provides another layer of bureaucratic protection in the animal's range, although private landowners are not affected unless they receive federal funds or permits.

Much of northern Minnesota has already been managed with the lynx in mind, so officials expect little change from the habitat do-over. About 52 percent of the proposed Minnesota critical habitat is on federal lands, 19 percent on private lands, and the remaining under state, tribal or other ownership. The report said that the Minnesota area is essential because it was the only land in the Great Lakes region where evidence of lynx reproduction occurred. The government lists logging as the most threatening human activity in the cat's habitat.

Between 100 and 300 lynx live in Minnesota at least part of the year. Other states where lynx are known to live include Maine, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Washington. It is estimated that about 1000 lynx live in the Continental United States.

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