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Colorado Cat Makes New “Hot List”

December 2, 2009

DENVER - A Colorado cat is featured on a new "hot list" of species at greatest risk of extinction because of a changing climate that affects habitat, breeding cycles and food supplies. The report was released by the Endangered Species Coalition.

The group's executive director, Leda Huta, says don't let the name 'Canada' lynx fool you - it's an animal well-suited for life in Colorado's high country, but only as long as the snow remains.

"It has those wonderfully fluffy paws that serve as snowshoes, and it's really an excellent hunter."

The Canada lynx also have specific climate requirements to stay healthy, including a solid season of deep snows. When snowpack is low, Huta explains, bigger and more aggressive species, like coyotes, edge the lynx out of hunting territories.

"It's perfectly tailored for snow. I think that people really don't know what that's going to mean when this ecosystem sees so much less snow."

Other species on the list include bull trout, salmon, a Hawaiian songbird and leatherback sea turtles. The report calls for federal action to help species adjust, and a reduction of the types of pollution associated with climate change. The debate on how to slow climate change and whether it is tied to human actions, continues next week at the United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. It begins Monday, December 7.

The "America's Hottest Species" report is online at

Eric Mack, Public News Service - CO