The Canada lynx is on the brink of decline, however, the US Fish and Wildlife Service are collaborating with landowners to recreate the lynx’s habitat in order for it to hunt successfully in the Maine woods. The lynx populations are decreasing without their proper habitat.
But the Maine-based organization has been working on creating the right habitat that would provide foraging for the lynx. The landowners with whom they collaborated owned 600,000 acres of woodlands, and they were willing to help.
Wildlife experts are struggling to recreate the cat-related wild animal’s natural habitat in Maine, whereas these grounds, in the past, were ideal for them and for their hunting.
Due to clear-cutting being regulated and the forests’ maturation, the US Fish and Wildlife Service organization, together with landowners, is aimed at reducing the odds of lynx populations declining, especially where these are the most abundant.
Scott Joachim, forester, explained that the idea was to create the appropriate environment for snowshoe hares, the lynx’s favorite prey, by providing patches of spruce-and-fir forests.
Joachim said that:
“We’re managing for the habitat that provides the greatest number of snowshoe hares.”
This would be a valid and viable solution.
Approximately 500 to 1000 lynxes roam the Maine woods, therefore, we’re talking about a rather large population of these tuft-eared cats. This big number is due to habitat changes across decades and also to a pest infestation.
Moreover, in the 1970s and 1980s clear-cutting was rising because of that pest infestation, as budworm had threatened large forest patches. Moreover, it was thanks to the clearings that dense growth of spruce-and-fir bushes emerged, thus the snowshoe hares started populating the woods, them being the lynx’s favorite meal.
However, forests have been maturing and clear-cutting ceased, due to restrictions implemented in 1989. Therefore, the declining habitat directly influences lynx and snowshoe hare populations.
If prompt actions aren’t taken, The University of Maine estimated that in 14 years, 60 percent of snowshoe hare populations would be lost, and, implicitly, 60 percent of lynx populations.
The lynx was already labeled as “endangered species” back in 2000, said a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Montana, Jim Zelenak.
Jennifer Vashon, Maine’s lynx biologist, said that governmental measures, in addition to what has been intended by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and landowners, were needed. To be more precise – forest managing strategies are necessary, so that a balance is enabled for new and old growth environments. Pests and natural phenomena, such as harsh weather, aren’t enough to provide younger trees in Maine.
Photo Credits deviantart.net /