Endangered Species
Midwest Region



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Canada lynx ( Lynx canadensis)


Canada lynx kitten


Status: Threatened, listed March 24, 2000


Critical Habitat Designated


Habitat: Mix of evergreens and hardwoods, such as maple and birch; interspersion of mature and young forest


Lead Region: 6


Region 3 Lead Office: Twin Cities , Minnesota Field Office


Range: California, Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming


The Canada lynx is protected under the Endangered Species Act as a threatened species. Historically the lynx was found from Alaska across Canada and into the northern U.S. states. The center of the North American range is in north-central Canada. Within the lower 48 states, in the east it lived in a transition zone between boreal coniferous forests to the north and deciduous forest to the south and in the west it lived subalpine coniferous forests in the mountains.


The lynx’s long legs and large feet make it adapted for hunting in deep snow and it's main prey is snowshoe hare. Canada lynx numbers and range expand and shrink in relation to hare populations. It's range in the lower 48 states included the southern-most extent of its range - with the southern-most range also expanding and constricting in response to hare numbers.


Canada lynx likely have never been as abundant in the lower 48 States as they were in northern Canada and Alaska because there is less lynx and snowshoe hare habitat in this part of their range. Declines of lynx in the lower 48 states were due to trapping and timber harvests that removed, changed and fragmented habitat. Today, timber harvest, recreation and their related activities are the threats to lynx habitat.


Life History, Ecological and Regulatory Information


Species Profile (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's National Endangered Species Website)


Fact Sheets, News, and Other Information about Canada Lynx


Listing Decision Information


How to Avoid Incidental Take of Lynx While Trapping or Hunting Bobcats and other Furbearers (pdf)


Quick Reference Guide: How to Avoid Take of Lynx While Trapping (pdf)


Canada lynx study in and near Superior National Forest, Minnesota (National Resource Research Institute website)



Listen to a podcast!

Find out about Canada lynx research in Maine.


Audio Clip



Critical Habitat

Canada Lynx Critical Habitat Revisions Proposed

2013 Proposal to Revise Canada Lynx Critical Habitat


Final Rule: Revision of Critical Habitat - Feb. 24, 2009

News Release: Revised Critical Habitat Designated for Canada Lynx Includes Changes in Minnesota (Feb. 24, 2009)


Images of Canada Lynx Project in Maine

Final Rule: Revision of Critical Habitat - Questions and Answers (Feb. 24, 2009)


Map of Canada Lynx Critical Habitat in Minnesota


More Information about the revised critical habitat designation for Canada lynx


Other Links

Minnesota DNR - Canada lynx web pages





Midwest Endangered Species Home


Last updated: April 14, 2015