For Immediate Release
Dave Gaillard, Defenders of Wildlife, (406) 586-3970
Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity, (503) 484-7495
Dave Werntz, Conservation Northwest, (360) 671-9950 ext.11 T
im Preso, Earthjustice, (406) 586-9699
Louise Lasley, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, 307-733-9417
Groups Seek to Defend Lynx Against Snowmobile Lawsuit
Rare wildcat population has been reduced by trapping, habitat loss
WASHINGTON - Six conservation groups filed a motion in the Wyoming
district court today to defend the designation of critical habitat for Canada
lynx, a species threatened with extinction in the United States. In May,
snowmobile advocacy groups in Washington and Wyoming filed suit seeking to
nullify a February 2009 rule that identified and designated the critical habitat
for lynx in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Minnesota, and Maine. The
designation allows the Service to protect lynx from harmful activities within
areas that are crucial for the species’ survival and recovery.
This rare wildcat population has been reduced by trapping and habitat loss
and critical habitat designation is important to the survival and recovery of
lynx. The designation requires that federal agencies ensure that their actions
will not adversely modify or destroy the lynx’s critical habitat. By
engaging in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S.
Forest Service can locate and design snowmobile trails so that they do not
adversely modify or destroy lynx critical habitat.
“The reason we are asking to get involved in this lawsuit is simple.
Lynx need habitat to survive,” said attorney Tim Preso of Earthjustice, who is
representing the conservation groups. “We want to ensure that legal
protections are in place to protect the habitat that is critical for the
conservation of this rare forest cat.”
“We can protect critical habitat for the lynx and continue to provide ample
opportunities for snowmobilers and other winter recreationists to enjoy the
landscape,” said David Gaillard of Defenders of Wildlife. “The Fish and
Wildlife Service carefully considered any impacts to these folks before making
its decision,” he added.
“Wyoming is big enough to share with lynx and other wild creatures,” said
Louise Lasley of the Jackson Hole Alliance in Wyoming. “The Wyoming Range
would be far a lonelier place if we capitulate to this special interest group
and allow the lynx to disappear.”
“Like many animals, Canada lynx need quiet places free of human disturbance
from snowmobiles and other activities to survive,” said Noah Greenwald,
endangered species program director at the Center for Biological
Diversity. “These unique cats need every acre of critical habitat
designated and more if they are to avoid extinction in the United States.”
The Wyoming district court judge presiding in the case will evaluate the
request to intervene. Earthjustice submitted the legal intervention
request on behalf of Defenders of Wildlife, Center for Biological Diversity,
Conservation Northwest, Friends of the Wild Swan, Jackson Hole Conservation
Alliance, and the Lands Council.