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Lynx recovery plan might not be ready before 2018

Jun 10, 2014 - The Associated Press

In the Lower 48 states, lynx are rarely seen across a 14-state range that includes Wyoming.

BILLINGS, Mont. -- U.S. wildlife officials revealed Monday that they expect to complete a recovery plan for imperiled Canada lynx in early 2018 -- almost two decades after the snow-loving wild cats first received federal protections.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service laid out that timetable in court documents filed as part of a federal lawsuit in Montana brought by environmentalists unhappy with prior delays.

Lynx were designated a federally protected threatened species in 2000. Since then, federal officials have repeatedly missed their own deadlines to start work on a plan to help the animals. Officials have blamed budget limitations, other species that took priority and lawsuits that challenged the government's designation of critical habitat for the animals.

In the Lower 48 states, lynx are rarely seen across a 14-state range that includes Wyoming and other mountain states, portions of the Northeast, the Great Lakes and the Cascade Range of Washington and Oregon. There is no reliable estimate of its population size.

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