Listed Under the Endangered Species Act
In 2000, in response to Defenders’ petition and litigation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the lynx as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This listing provided lynx with many protections and much needed attention, helped support research and monitoring of lynx populations across the lower 48 states, and stopped lynx trapping in Montana.
While ESA protection helps to address many threats, individual projects may still occur that we deem harmful to the species and require our action. In 2011, an oil company called PXP presented a proposal for 136 new oil and gas wells in lynx habitat in the Upper Hoback region of Wyoming, but the project was put on hold after we and our conservation colleagues intervened. After almost a year of waiting, we received the news we were waiting for. PXP agreed to sell its leases and end its project – a major victory! Defenders is continuing to monitor the lynx’s remaining strongholds in areas like the Hoback to ensure that the species’ needs are taken into account.
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Support in the Southern Rocky Mountains
Defenders supported the Colorado Division of Wildlife as they reintroduced lynx to core habitat in the southern Rocky Mountains. More than 200 lynx were reintroduced in the past decade into Colorado. This reintroduction effort has been deemed a success. At least 141 kittens have been born in Colorado, and we hope this population will continue to grow and thrive.