Canada lynx

Canada lynx. Credit: USFWS

Canada lynx. Credit: USFWS

Canada lynx are a priority issue for the Cascadia Partner Forum.  They are also a conservation target identified in the Great Northern Landscape Conservation Cooperative’s Strategic Conservation Framework and the Yakama Nation’s Climate Adaptation Planning effort.  They are a cold adapted, threatened species that occurs at the southern edge of its range in Washington and other parts of the United States. Lynx populations at the southern range edge have experienced substantial declines in recent decades. A variety of factors, including loss of connectivity among populations, declining snow pack, and demographic fluctuations, may be contributing to this range contraction.  Future climate changes may present additional challenges and needs for lynx habitat connectivity.  First, climate change may impact lynx core habitat and dispersal corridors in ways that make them more or less permeable to movement. Second, existing lynx core habitat and corridors may be distributed on the landscape in ways that make them more or less able to accommodate climate driven shifts in lynx distributions.

Further complicating Canada lynx conservation is the fact that southern populations of this species occur along the US-Canada border, with each country having different management guidelines for lynx. In the United States, lynx are a protected (threatened) species; in Canada, lynx are a furbearer managed for commercial and recreational harvest through trapping and hunting. Given that lynx populations in southern Canada may serve as source populations for lynx in the United States, with dispersing lynx from Canada bolstering US populations and preventing their decline, increased coordination on management goals is a priority for our forum.

In our work on this species, we expand beyond the traditional boundaries of Cascadia to include the transboundary Kettle River Range population as well.

Further information on Canada lynx management, conservation, monitoring, and related resources for the Cascadia region:

Live captured and collared lynx in a 2016 research project led by Okanagan Nation Alliance. Credit: Al Peatt

Live captured and collared lynx in a 2016 research project led by Okanagan Nation Alliance. Credit: Al Peatt