DENVER (CN) – Lynx that migrate from Colorado mountain ranges into New Mexico are killed because of the government’s failure to update a threatened species regulation, WildEarth Guardians says. The lynx are protected as threatened in Colorado, but not in New Mexico.
The state line divides a biological group of lynx, the group says. Some 60 lynx have traveled south along biological corridors since more than 200 lynx were reintroduced into Colorado as part of a recovery plan starting in 1999. At least 14 of these migrating cats have been shot, WildEarth says.
WildEarth says the Fish and Wildlife Service should implement a “quick fix” by simply updating a 2000 listing rule.
But instead, the agency put the cat on a waiting list. WildEarth says at least 34 species on the waiting list have become extinct since 1980.
A 2009 “warranted but precluded” finding gave the lynx priority number 12 on a list of 245 species waiting for protection.
This could force the lynx to wait “decades” for the protection it needs, the group says. Despite budget increases and the agency’s promise to expedite protection for species on its waiting list, progress has been too slow, WildEarth says.
It says that updating the 2000 threatened listing rule would be a simple, cheap and quick process.
Represented by the Western Environmental Law Center, WildEarth wants the 2000 rule immediately updated to provide threatened species protection for the lynx in New Mexico.
Lynx are similar to bobcats, but with disproportionately large feet, an all-black tail and a more variable, spotted pelt. The Southern Rockies lynx, which lives in the San Juan and Sangre de Cristo Mountain ranges, is a specialized hunter adapted to preying on snowshoe hare.