BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Wildlife advocates sued the federal government Monday after it declined to designate some areas in the West as critical habitat for the imperiled Canada lynx.
Separate lawsuits were filed over the issue in U.S. District Court in Missoula by two coalitions of advocacy groups.
They assert that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service improperly excluded the southern Rocky Mountains of New Mexico and Colorado from 39,000 square miles of protected habitat for the elusive, forest-dwelling wild cat.
The lawsuits also say the agency left out important habitat in portions of Washington state, Idaho, Montana and Oregon.
The plaintiffs asked the court to strike down the government’s September finding and send the issue back to federal wildlife officials for reconsideration.
Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Ryan Moehring said the agency would not comment on ongoing litigation.