The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will need to reconsider designating the southern Rockies for special protection for lynx.
In 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made a decision to designate critical habitat for lynx in the northern Rockies, but did not include areas in southern Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.
Local nonprofit Wilderness Workshop and other environmental groups successfully sued the agency, asking for a re-examination. This could mean that areas in Colorado may see further protection of key lynx habitat.
Lynx, which are listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, prey primarily on snowshoe hare and live in forested areas with deep snowpack.
“They’ve got these really big paws that allow them to travel over the snow and get into areas where coyotes and other predators can’t,” said Will Roush, conservation director at Wilderness Workshop.
Designating areas as critical habitat is a safeguard against development that could impact the lynx population.