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Distribution and Habitat-use of Canada Lynx in Montana and Wyoming: Issues and Challenges
John Squires, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Missoula, MT
Our understanding of lynx ecology in the Northern Rocky Mountains has improved significantly since federal listing in 2000. To investigate broad-scale habitat selection (Type 2 selection), we used logistic regression in a GIS framework to compare 59 used home ranges to a Monte Carlo simulation of 1,000 available home ranges within the available landscape. Lynx select home ranges in spruce-fir forests at mid-slope elevations 1435–1935 m in areas with low topographic roughness. We also studied resource use within home ranges (Type 3 selection) based on vegetation analysis of summer relocation points (1,260) and along 582 km of winter backtracks. Within home range during winter, lynx select mature spruce-fir forests with high horizontal cover, deep snow, and abundant snowshoe hares. Lynx are limited in their distribution in the contiguous US; northwestern Wyoming is the southern-most native population in North America. I discuss how the species’ ecology frames the issues for management and conservation.