Representative Jayapal calls on UWFWS to protect lynx
Conservation Northwest / Mar 02, 2018 / Lynx, Restoring Wildlife
On February 22, 2018, U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal, representing Washington’s 7th District, and more than a dozen other Members of Congress submitted a letter to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Deputy Director Greg Sheehan demanding that the Service do its duty in protecting Canada lynx from extinction as mandated by the Endangered Species Act.
“Without a recovery plan and protections from the Endangered Species Act, we could face a world without the Canada lynx. That would be a horrible tragedy – all the more so because it would be an avoidable one,” said Representative Jayapal.
“Rising temperatures, declining snowfall, and changing climate associated with global warming all have negative implications for the lynx. ”
The full letter is available in a PDF as well as through the Representative’s Twitter account.
Through a species assessment released on January 11, 2018, the Trump Administration and U.S. Fish and Wildlife service announced intentions to remove endangered species protections for Canada lynx. A court-mandated recovery plan for lynx was due from the Department of the Interior on January 15 and has not been completed.
The protection and recovery of Canada lynx and their habitat has been a priority for Conservation Northwest for well over two decades. Lynx are among the most endangered felines in North America, with only a few hundred of the big cats remaining in the lower 48 states.
In Washington state, their range includes the North Cascades north of Lake Chelan primarily in the Pasayten Wilderness and Loomis Forest, as well as a few animals in the Kettle River Mountain Range and Selkirk Mountains of northeast Washington. Estimates from state and federal biologists published in early 2017 indicate there are only between 20 and 100 lynx in Washington. In late 2016, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife listed lynx as Endangered in our state.
In 1999, Conservation Northwest led a grassroots campaign called the Loomis Forest Fund which successfully raised $16.5 million from private individuals and foundations to permanently protect 25,000 acres of the Loomis State Forest from logging—saving Washington’s most critical habitat for endangered Canada lynx.
In addition to protecting lynx habitat and contributing to research and monitoring on lynx populations in the Pacific Northwest through the Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project, Conservation Northwest has strongly opposed proposals to remove Endangered Species Act protections for lynx.
“Lynx populations in Washington have declined since they were identified as a threatened species in 2000,” said Dave Werntz, Science and Conservation Director at Conservation Northwest.
“A significant amount of the habitat where they remain has been lost to recent large fires. The Trump Administration’s decision that lynx no longer deserve federal protection is shameful, cavalier, and contrary to best available information. It’s clear that lynx are facing extinction threats and warrant federal wildlife protections.”