Canada Lynx (Lynx canadensis)

Federal Register | Recovery | Critical Habitat | Conservation Plans | Petitions | Life History

Listing Status:   

Where Listed: WHEREVER FOUND

General Information

The lynx is a medium-sized cat with long legs, large, well-furred paws, long tufts on the ears, and a short, black-tipped tail. The winter pelage of the lynx is dense and has a grizzled appearance with grayish-brown mixed with buff or pale brown fur on the back, and grayish-white or buff-white fur on the belly, legs and feet. Summer pelage of the lynx is more reddish to gray-brown. Adult males average 10 kilograms (22 pounds) in weight and 85 centimeters (33.5 inches) in length (head to tail), and females average 8.5 kilograms (19 pounds) and 82 centimeters (32 inches). The lynx’s long legs and large feet make it highly adapted for hunting in deep snow. The distribution of lynx in North America is closely associated with the distribution of North American boreal forest. In Canada and Alaska, lynx inhabit the classic boreal forest ecosystem known as the taiga. The range of lynx populations extends south from the classic boreal forest zone into the subalpine forest of the western United States, and the boreal/hardwood forest ecotone in the eastern United States. Forests with boreal features extend south into the contiguous United States along the North Cascade and Rocky Mountain Ranges in the west, the western Great Lakes Region, and northern Maine. Within these general forest types, lynx are most likely to persist in areas that receive deep snow and have high-density populations of snowshoe hares, the principal prey of lynx.

  • States/US Territories in which the Canada Lynx, Contiguous U.S. DPS is known to or is believed to occur:  California , Colorado , Idaho , Maine , Michigan , Minnesota , Montana , New Mexico , Oregon , Utah , Washington , Wisconsin , Wyoming
  • US Counties in which the Canada Lynx, Contiguous U.S. DPS is known to or is believed to occur:  View All
  • USFWS Refuges in which the Canada Lynx, Contiguous U.S. DPS is known to occur:  Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge, Benton Lake Wetland Management District, Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge, Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge-Nulhegan Basin Division  ... Show All Refuges
  • Additional species information
 
Current Listing Status Summary
Status Date Listed Lead Region Where Listed
03/24/2000 Mountain-Prairie Region (Region 6) Wherever Found in Contiguous U.S.

» Federal Register Documents

Federal Register Documents
Date Citation Page Title
01/10/2007 72 FR 1186 1189 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Clarification of Significant Portion of the Range for the Contiguous United States Distinct Population Segment of the Canada Lynx
12/04/1980 45 FR 80444 80448 Final Findings for Export of Bobcat, Lynx, River Otter, Alaskan Gray Wolf & Alaskan Brown Bear Taken in 80-81 Season
06/25/1999 64 FR 34216 34217 Notice of Application to Amend an Endangered Species Act Incidental Take Permit to Include Canada Lynx and Puget Sound/Coastal Bull Trout on the Plum Creek Timber Company Permit for Timber Harvest in the State of Washington, and to Issue an Incidental Take Permit for Middle Columbia River Steelhead, and Puget Sound Chinook to Plum Creek Timber Company in the State of Washington.
06/20/2014 79 FR 35303 35309 Revised Designation of Critical Habitat for the Contiguous U.S. Distinct Population Segment of the Canada Lynx and Revised Distinct Population Segment Boundary
07/12/1979 44 FR 40842 40857 Exports of Appendix II Species; Bobcat, Lynx, River Otter, Alaskan Brown Bear, and Alaskan Gray Wolf - Proposed Export Findings for the 1979 1980 Season
12/17/2009 74 FR 66937 66950 12-month Finding on a Petition To Change the Final Listing of the Distinct Population Segment of the Canada Lynx To Include New Mexico
02/25/2009 74 FR 8616 8702 Revised Designation of Critical Habitat for the Contiguous United States Distinct Population Segment of the Canada Lynx
01/20/1999 64 FR 3066 3067 Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement Regarding Proposed Issuance of an Incidental Take Permit to the City of Tacoma, Washington, for Water Storage and Withdrawal and Forest Management in the Green River Watershed, King County, Washington
08/16/1978 43 FR 36293 (Correction) (ESSA) Bobcat, Lynx, River Otter, and American Ginseng - Proposed Export Findings for the 1978-1979 Season - Revised Proposals and Extension of Comment Period
08/07/1978 43 FR 35014 35015 (ESSA) Bobcat, Lynx, River Otter, and American Ginseng Proposed Exporg Findings for the 1978-79 Season - Revised Proposals and Extension of Comment Period
10/16/2001 66 FR 52638 52640 Receipt of Application To Amend West Fork Timber Company's Endangered Species Act Incidental Take Permit for Western Washington To Include Canada Lynx and Bull Trout
10/06/1992 57 FR 46007 46012 ETWP; Publication of 90-Day Findings for Two Petitions to List the North American Lynx in the North Cascades of Washington and Three Oaks from California as Endangered; 57 FR 46007 46012
09/01/1978 43 FR 39306 39317 (ESSA) Bobcat, Lynx, River Otter and American Ginseng Export Findings for the 1978-1979 Season
09/12/2014 79 FR 54781 54846 Revised Designation of Critical Habitat for the Contiguous United States Distinct Population Segment of the Canada Lynx and Revised Distinct Population Segment Boundary; Final Rule
07/08/1998 63 FR 36994 37013 ETWP; Proposal To List the Contiguous United States Distinct Population Segment of the Canada Lynx; Proposed Rule
12/27/1994 59 FR 66507 66509 ETWP; 12-Month Finding for a Petition to List As Endangered or Threatened the Contiguous United States Population of the Canada Lynx
09/26/1979 44 FR 55540 55547 Export of Appendix II Species: Bobcat, Lynx, River Otter, Alaskan Brown Bear, and Alaskan Gray Wolf - Export Findings for the 1979-1980 Season
09/11/2006 71 FR 53355 53361 Designation of Critical Habitat for the Contiguous United States Distinct Population Segment of the Canada Lynx: Proposed rule; reopening of public comment period, notice of availability of draft economic analysis and draft environmental Assessment, and amended Required Determinations.
03/15/2000 65 FR 13947 13948 Extension of Public Comment Period for Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Application for an Incidental Take Permit for the Tacoma Water Department, Green River Watershed, Habitat Conservation Plan, King County, Washington
03/16/1978 43 FR 11082 11093 Export of Bobcat, Lynx, River Otter, and American Ginseng, Part II
02/28/2008 73 FR 10860 10896 Revised Critical Habitat for the Contiguous United States Distinct Population Segment ofthe Canada Lynx (Lynx canadensis): Proposed rule.
05/27/1997 62 FR 28653 28657 ETWP; 12-Month Finding for a Petition To List the Contiguous United States Population of the Canada Lynx
07/07/1978 43 FR 29470 29490 Bobcat, Lynx, River Otter, and American Ginseng - Proposed Export Findings for the 1978-1979 Season
10/19/1998 63 FR 55839 55840 ETWP; Extension of Comment Period for Proposed Rule To List the Contiguous United States Distinct Population Segment of the Canada Lynx
04/18/2007 72 FR 19549 19551 Initiation of 5-Year Reviews of Seven Wildlife Species and Two Plant Species in the Mountain-Prairie Region
12/30/1982 47 FR 58454 58460 Review of Vertebrate Wildlife for Listing as End. or Thr. Species
04/30/1979 44 FR 25384 25386 Export of American Alligator, Bobcat, Lynx, River Otter, Alaskan Wolf, Alaskan Brown Bear, and American Ginseng - Procedures for Making 1979-1980 Export Findings
03/17/2003 68 FR 12611 12612 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Reopening of Comment Period for Final Rule To List the Contiguous United States Distinct Population Segment of the Canada Lynx
10/30/2001 66 FR 54808 54832 ETWP; Review of Plant and Animal Species That Are Candidates or Proposed for Listing as Endangered or Threatened,Annual Notice of Findings on Recycled Petitions, and Annual Description of Progress on Listing Actions; Proposed Rule
01/31/2000 4603 Availability of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Receipt of an Application for Incidental Take Permits for the Tacoma Water Department, Green River Watershed, Habitat Conservation Plan, King County, Washington
04/10/1978 43 FR 15098 15100 (ESSA) Export of Bobcat, Lynx, River Otter and American Ginseng - Guidelines and Information Needs for 1978 1979/Export Findings
03/24/2000 65 FR 16053 16086 Determination of Threatened Status for the Contiguous U.S. Distinct Population Segment of the Canada Lynx and Related Rule; Final Rule
08/26/1994 59 FR 44123 44124 ETWP; 90-Day Finding for a Petition to List as Endangered or Threatened the Contiguous United States Population of the Canada Lynx and to Emergency List a Southern Rocky Mountain Population
06/26/2009 74 FR 30617 30619 Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation; Draft Environmental Impact Statement Availability and Public Meetings
10/25/1999 64 FR 57535 57547 Review of Plant and Animal Taxa That Are Candidates or Proposed for Listing as Endangered or Threatened; Annual Notice of Findings on Recycled Petitions; Annual Description of Progress on Listing Actions
04/28/2003 68 FR 22412 22414 Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement Regarding Proposed Issuance of an Incidental Take Permit to the Montana Department of Natural Resrouces and Conservation on Foreted State Trust Lands in the State of Montana
09/19/1997 62 FR 49398 49397 Review of Plant and Animal Taxa
09/26/2013 78 FR 59429 59474 Revised Designation of Critical Habitat for the Contiguous U.S. Distinct Population Segment of the Canada Lynx and Revised Distinct Population Segment Boundary; Proposed Rule
11/09/2006 71 FR 66008 66061 Designation of Critical Habitat for the Contiguous United States Distinct Population Segment of the Canada Lynx
11/09/2005 70 FR 68294 68328 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Designation of Critical Habitat for the Contiguous United States Distinct Population Segment of the Canada Lynx; Proposed Rule
07/09/1993 58 FR 36924 36925 ETWP; Notice of Not Substantial Petition Finding on the North Cascades Lynx
02/16/2006 71 FR 8258 8264 Proposed Designation of Critical Habitat for the Contiguous United States Distinct Population Segment of the Canada Lynx, Proposed rule; reopening of public comment period and clarification of proposed critical habitat designation.
12/18/2008 73 FR 76990 76994 90-Day Finding on a Petition To Change the Listing Status of the Canada Lynx
09/07/1979 44 FR 52289 52295 Exports of Appendix II Species: Bobcat, Lynx, River Otter, Alaskan Brown Bear, and Alaskan Gray Wolf - Proposed Export Findings for the 1979- 1980 Season: Revised Proposal and Additional Comment Period
08/30/1977 42 FR 43730 43767 (ESSA) Export of Bobcat, Lynx, River Otter and Ginseng, Preliminary Finding and Requests for Comments; 42 FR 43730 43767 (Lynx rufus, Lynx canadensis, Lutra canadensis, Panax quinquefolius)
01/05/2001 66 FR 1089 1091 Availability of a Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Tacoma Water Department Habitat Conservation Plan, King County, WA
07/03/2003 68 FR 40076 40101 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Notice of Remanded Determination of Status for the Contiguous United States Distinct Population Segment of the Canada Lynx; Clarification of Findings; Final Rule
05/21/1980 45 FR 34025 34027 Proposed Finding of Nondetriment in Response to U.S. District Court Injunction on Export of Bobcats (Lynx Rufus)
Special Rule Publications
Date Citation Page Title
03/24/2000 65 FR 16053 16086 Determination of Threatened Status for the Contiguous U.S. Distinct Population Segment of the Canada Lynx and Related Rule; Final Rule
12/04/1980 45 FR 80444 80448 Final Findings for Export of Bobcat, Lynx, River Otter, Alaskan Gray Wolf & Alaskan Brown Bear Taken in 80-81 Season

» Recovery

Current Recovery Plan(s)
Date Title Plan Action Status Plan Status
09/14/2005 Recovery Outline for the Contiguous United States Distinct Population Segment of Canada Lynx (Lynx canadensis) Recovery efforts in progress, but no implementation information yet to display Outline
Other Recovery Documents
Date Citation Page Title Document Type
04/18/2007 72 FR 19549 19551 Initiation of 5-Year Reviews of Seven Wildlife Species and Two Plant Species in the Mountain-Prairie Region
  • Notice 5-year Review, Initiation

» Critical Habitat

Date Citation Page Title Document Type Status
09/12/2014 79 FR 54781 54846 Revised Designation of Critical Habitat for the Contiguous United States Distinct Population Segment of the Canada Lynx and Revised Distinct Population Segment Boundary; Final Rule Final Rule Final designated
09/26/2013 78 FR 59429 59474 Revised Designation of Critical Habitat for the Contiguous U.S. Distinct Population Segment of the Canada Lynx and Revised Distinct Population Segment Boundary; Proposed Rule Proposed Rule Not Required
02/25/2009 74 FR 8616 8702 Revised Designation of Critical Habitat for the Contiguous United States Distinct Population Segment of the Canada Lynx Final Rule Not Required
02/28/2008 73 FR 10860 10896 Revised Critical Habitat for the Contiguous United States Distinct Population Segment ofthe Canada Lynx (Lynx canadensis): Proposed rule. Proposed Rule Not Required
11/09/2006 71 FR 66008 66061 Designation of Critical Habitat for the Contiguous United States Distinct Population Segment of the Canada Lynx Final Rule Not Required
11/09/2005 70 FR 68294 68328 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Designation of Critical Habitat for the Contiguous United States Distinct Population Segment of the Canada Lynx; Proposed Rule Proposed Rule Not Required

To learn more about critical habitat please see http://ecos.fws.gov/crithab

» Conservation Plans

Habitat Conservation Plans (HCP) (learn more)
HCP Plan Summaries
Cedar River Watershed HCP
City of Tacoma, Tacoma Water HCP
Maine's Trapping Program Incidental Take Plan
Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Lands
Plum Creek Timber I-90 HCP, Amendment (addition of Canada lynx and Puget Sound/Coastal DPS of bull trout)
West Fork Timber HCP, Amendment (Addition of Bull Trout and Lynx)

» Petitions

» Life History

Habitat Requirements

Lynx habitat can generally be described as moist boreal forests that have cold, snowy winters and a high-density snowshoe hare prey base. The predominant vegetation of boreal forest is conifer trees, primarily species of spruce (Picea spp.) and fir (Abies spp.). In the contiguous United States, the boreal forest type transitions to deciduous temperate forest in the Northeast and Great Lakes, and to subalpine forest in the west. In mountainous areas, the boreal forests that lynx use are characterized by scattered moist forest types with high hare densities in a matrix of other habitats (e.g., hardwoods, dry forest, non-forest) with low hare densities. In these areas, lynx incorporate the matrix habitat (non-boreal forest habitat elements) into their home ranges and use it for traveling between patches of boreal forest that support high hare densities where most foraging occurs.

Food Habits

Snowshoe hares are the primary prey of lynx, comprising the bulk of the lynx diet throughout its range. Without high densities of snowshoe hares, lynx are unable to sustain populations despite utilizing a multitude of other prey when snowshoe hare numbers are low. Other prey species include red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus), grouse (Bonasa umbellus, Dendragopus spp., Lagopus spp.), flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus), ground squirrel (Spermophilus parryii, S. Richardsonii), porcupine (Erethrizon dorsatum), beaver (Castor canadensis), mice (Peromyscus spp.), voles (Microtus spp.), shrews (Sorex spp.), fish. Ungulate carrion may also be consumed.

Movement / Home Range

Individual lynx maintain large home ranges generally between 12 to 83 square miles. The size of lynx home ranges varies depending on abundance of prey, the animal’s gender and age, season, and the density of lynx populations. When densities of snowshoe hares decline, for example, lynx enlarge their home ranges to obtain sufficient amounts of food to survive and reproduce. Lynx also make long distance exploratory movements outside their home ranges. Preliminary research supports the hypothesis that lynx home ranges at the southern extent of the species’ range are generally large compared to those in the core of the range in Canada, indicating a relative reduction of food resources in these areas.

Reproductive Strategy

Breeding occurs through March and April in the north. Kittens are born in May to June in southcentral Yukon. The male lynx does not help with rearing young. Yearling females may give birth during periods when hares are abundant. During periods of hare abundance in the northern taiga, litter size of adult females averages four to five kittens. Litter sizes are typically smaller in lynx populations in the contiguous United States.

Other

In all regions within the range of the lynx in the contiguous United States, timber harvest, recreation, and their related activities are the predominant land uses affecting lynx habitat. The primary factor that caused the lynx to be listed was the lack of guidance for the conservation of lynx and snowshoe hare habitat in plans for federally managed lands. Landscape connectivity between lynx populations and habitats in Canada and the contiguous United States must be maintained. Lynx movements may be negatively affected by high traffic volume on roads that bisect suitable lynx habitat, such as in the Southern Rockies, and in some areas, mortalities due to road kill are high.

» Other Resources

NatureServe Explorer Species Reports -- NatureServe Explorer is a source for authoritative conservation information on more than 50,000 plants, animals and ecological communtities of the U.S and Canada. NatureServe Explorer provides in-depth information on rare and endangered species, but includes common plants and animals too. NatureServe Explorer is a product of NatureServe in collaboration with the Natural Heritage Network.

ITIS Reports -- ITIS (the Integrated Taxonomic Information System) is a source for authoritative taxonomic information on plants, animals, fungi, and microbes of North America and the world.

FWS Digital Media Library -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Digital Library is a searchable collection of selected images, historical artifacts, audio clips, publications, and video.