Action timeline

April 27, 1994 – The Biodiversity Legal Foundation petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the coterminous U.S. population of the lynx as threatened or endangered, as well as to emergency-list the southern Rocky Mountain population in Wyoming and Colorado.

December 27, 1994 – The Service found that listing the lynx in the contiguous United States was not warranted.

January 30, 1996 – Defenders of Wildlife, the Biodiversity Legal Foundation, and 13 other plaintiffs filed suit against the Service challenging its 1994 finding.

May 27, 1997 – Two months after the court commanded the Service to set aside its 1994 decision, the agency made the lynx a candidate for Endangered Species Act status, finding that listing was warranted but precluded by higher-priority listing actions.

July 8, 1998 – In response to a second suit brought by Defenders of Wildlife, the Biodiversity Legal Foundation (now merged with the Center), and others, the Service proposed to list the contiguous U.S. distinct population segment of the Canada lynx as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

March 24, 2000 – The Service published a final rule listing the contiguous U.S. distinct population segment of the lynx under the Endangered Species Act.

February 16, 2006 – The Service proposed to designate 18, 031 square miles of Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, and Washington as critical habitat for the lynx.

December 11, 2006 – The Service put into effect a final rule designating just 1,841 square miles in Minnesota, Montana, and Washington as critical habitat for the lynx.

February 28, 2008 – The Service proposed to revise the lynx's critical habitat to include 42,753 square miles in portions of northern Maine, northeastern Minnesota, the northern Rocky Mountains, the northern Cascades, and the Greater Yellowstone Area. The designation would still leave out habitat in Colorado.

March 31, 2008 – In response to a lawsuit by the Center and allies, a Minnesota judge declared that traps harming Canada lynx were in violation of the Endangered Species Act. The state was ordered to take all action necessary to prevent lynx trappings.

July 2008 – A Minneapolis federal court mandated that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources take concrete measures as part of a plan to prevent lynx trappings, including restricting certain types of traps and snares in lynx habitat, prohibiting fresh meat as bait, operating a hotline to report incidentally trapped lynx, and rehabilitating lynx injured by trapping.

March 27, 2009 – The Canada lynx gained approximately 25 million acres of critical habitat in Maine, Minnesota, Wyoming, Idaho, and Washington. In its designation, however, the Fish and Wildlife Service left out part of the lynx's historic habitat that should have been protected to allow the species to expand its current range, including areas in the southern Rocky Mountains.

August 3, 2009 – The Center and five allies announced we filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit filed by snowmobilers challenging the lynx's critical habitat designation.

January 14, 2010 – The Center and other conservation groups filed a formal appeal of a federal plan that failed to protect wildlands and species, including the Canada lynx, from off-road vehicle damage in Minnesota's Superior National Forest.

September 25, 2013 – In response to two lawsuits, the Fish and Wildlife Service again proposed protected critical habitat for the Canada lynx, this time to the tune of 26 million acres.

April 7, 2014 – The Center and two other conservation groups initiated a lawsuit against the governor of Idaho and other state officials to halt trapping that illegally kills the Canada lynx.

September 11, 2014 – The Service finalized protections for 24.9 million acres of critical habitat for the lynx, spread across Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Washington and Wyoming.

December 2014 – After a second Canada lynx died in a trap in Maine, the event triggered an emergency prohibition on certain types of trapping in lynx habitat in the state.

January 11, 2016 – A federal judge ordered Idaho officials to develop trapping restrictions that prevent Canada lynx from being illegally hurt or killed across more than 20,000 square miles of the state's Panhandle and Clearwater regions.

March 28, 2017 – The Center and allies filed suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Forest Service under the Endangered Species Act for their approval of the PolyMet open-pit copper mine in the Superior National Forest in northeastern Minnesota. The 528-acre open-pit mine would destroy important habitat for gray wolves and Canada lynx.

Photo courtesy Flickr/jamia54