OLYMPIA– Plans prepared by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) for the recovery of endangered sea otters and threatened lynx will be released for public comment next week.
Available beginning July 1 at WDFW offices, on the Department's website, or by calling (360) 902-2515, the draft recovery plans lay out strategies to increase the numbers and distribution of the two species with the goal of eventually removing them from state protection lists.
Public comments will be taken until October 1 on the draft recovery plans. WDFW wildlife managers will consider the public comments as they develop final versions of the recovery plans for release in December.
Sea otters, a state-listed endangered species, once thrived off the Washington coast before they were eliminated by extensive harvest for their valuable pelts. In 1969 and 1970, two groups of otters totaling 59 animals were transplanted here from Alaska. Since then their numbers have grown to slightly over 600 animals. Otters now are found along the Washington coast from Destruction Island to Neah Bay.
The lynx, the rarest of wild cat species native to Washington, have dwindled to an estimated 100 to 200 animals living in forested, subalpine areas in the north-central and northeastern part of the state.
Lynx were trapped or hunted in Washington until 1991. The lynx was listed as a state threatened species in 1993, and was listed as a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) this past April.
Comments on the draft recovery plans should be submitted in writing to: Harriet Allen, Endangered Species Program Manager, WDFW, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia WA 98501-1091 or may be sent electronically to the Wildlife Program.