WASHINGTON (CN) – North of the border between Colorado and New Mexico, the Canada lynx enjoys federal protection under the Endangered Species Act, but south of that border it loses its status.
Although the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service believes the lynx should enjoy protection in New Mexico as well, expansion of the lynx’s protected range is precluded by higher priority listings.
When the Canada lynx was first listed in March, 2000 it was not known that the lynx crossed into New Mexico and it was generally believed that there was insufficient prey to support a lynx population. However, long term populations of lynx and its most significant prey, the snowshoe hare, have been found in the San Juan and Sangre de Cristo mountains in the northern part of New Mexico. The mountains are contiguous with ranges in Colorado.
The agency has assigned the lowest priority listing number of 12 to the protection of New Mexico’s Canada lynx.