Lynx on the Edge? Canada Lynx Occupancy in Washington

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The Northwest CASC recently posted an article discussing new research on the Canada lynx, an endangered species being threatened by climate-induced impacts like rising temperatures, increased fire frequency and intensity, and decreased snowpack in Washington state.

Canada lynx

Canada lynx. (Bill Byrne, MassWildlife)

 

Read the original news story posted by the Northwest CASC, here.

Populations of the endangered Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) were thought to have been making a comeback in recent years, with the federal government currently discussing the removal of this carnivore from the Endangered Species Act. However, new research partially-funded by the Northwest CASC suggests that the Canada lynx is still threatened by climate-induced impacts like rising temperatures, increased fire frequency and intensity, and decreased snowpack throughout the species’ southern range, which includes Washington state. Data from this two-year-long camera trapping survey effort, which included approximately two million images, were combined with regional climate information to create occupancy models that map current and future Canada lynx distributions. Results foreshadow a restricted future habitat range for Canada lynx in southern and lower-elevation areas of their habitat in Washington, with projected future changes in climate expected to further challenge lynx occupancy in these areas. This study exemplifies the need for additional monitoring of Canada lynx populations in Washington, which could ultimately aid in the development of successful future management strategies for this endangered species.

This research, partially funded by the Northwest CASC, was led by former Northwest CASC fellow Travis King.

The published scientific article was also highlighted in a story by the New York Times.

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