Another federal decision that will leave everyone grumbling . . .
Canada lynx gained federal protections in New Mexico on Thursday, but U.S. wildlife officials again declined to designate critical habitat for the elusive animal in the Southern Rockies, parts of New England and other areas considered non-essential to their survival.
The two-part finding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service means the forest-dwelling wild cat will be protected as threatened throughout the lower 48 states. Lynx that had spread to New Mexico’s San Juan and Sangre de Cristo mountains after being introduced in Colorado previously were not protected.
However, officials decided that potential lynx habitat in the Southern Rockies of New Mexico, Colorado and portions of Wyoming were not areas essential to conservation of the species. As a result, lynx in the region still will be protected from hunting and trapping, but there will be less stringent reviews of human activities that could affect the dense forests they need to survive…
Also left out of the 39,000 square miles of designated critical habitat were portions or all of six national forests in Idaho and Montana, and areas with lynx in northern Vermont and northern New Hampshire.