US drops bid to end protections for threatened Canada lynx

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. wildlife officials are dropping their attempt to strip Canada lynx of federal protections.

A federal judge in Montana on Monday approved a settlement between the U.S. Interior Department and environmentalists who had sued to retain protections for the snow-loving wild cats.

Lynx have been listed as a threatened species since 2000. During the Trump administration officials said lynx had recovered after their numbers rebounded in some areas.

But some scientists and wildlife advocates warn climate change could undo that progress by reducing lynx habitat and the availability of a key food source — snowshoe hares.

A new recovery plan for lynx is due by 2024.