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Canada lynx ( Lynx canadensis)
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
Canada Lynx Critical Habitat Revisions Proposed
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)
Final Rule: Revision of Critical Habitat - Questions and Answers (Feb. 24, 2009)
Last updated: July 19, 2016