Monday, March 09, 2009
The US Fish & Wildlife Service reversed a critical habitat designation for the Canadian Lynx (Lynx canadensis) made during the Regime by former deputy assistant secretary Julie MacDonald. MacDonald was forced to resign in disgrace after the Department of Interior's inspector general determined she improperly pressured federal biologists to reach conclusions favoring industry over species preservation. The lynx decision favored timber interests by restricting the critical habitat designation to just 1,841 sq. miles (476,817 hectares) within existing national parks. A specialist hunter, the lynx requires a large territory to survive. The revised designation covers 39,000 sq. miles in Maine, Minnesota, Montana and Washington where dense conifer forests provide snowshoe hares for food, large woody debris piles for dens, and deep powder snow cover for long periods. Because critical habitat for a protected species under the Endangered Species Act requires special management considerations, commercial interests which require federal permits are often opposed to new or expanded designations. All of the newly designated critical habitat is considered occupied by biologists based on verified records of lynx sightings and reproduction. In 2009 Colorado began a reintroduction program to the lynx's historic range. A Colorado born lynx gave birth to two kittens in 2006 indicating the possibility of a successful reintroduction. But in 2007 several lynx were killed possibly by fur poachers since only the radio collars were left behind. The lynx has been protected since 2000 as a threatened species, and it is illegal to hunt or trap the fur bearing animals except in Alaska.
Posted by US PERSON at 5:30 AM