in this April 19, 2005 file photo, a Canada lynx heads into the Rio Grande National Forest after being released near Creede, Colo. U.S. wildlife officials
in this April 19, 2005 file photo, a Canada lynx heads into the Rio Grande National Forest after being released near Creede, Colo. U.S. wildlife officials revealed Monday, June 9, 2014, that they expect to complete a recovery plan for imperiled Canada lynx in early 2018, almost two decades after the snow-loving wild cats first received federal protections. (AP Photo)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - Wildlife advocates want a federal judge to force the government to move more quickly on a recovery plan for imperiled Canada lynx.

The U.S. government declared the snow-loving big cats a threatened species across the Lower 48 states in 2000. But officials haven't come up with a mandated recovery plan.

After a federal judge criticized the delay, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed completing the plan by early 2018.

A coalition of wildlife advocacy groups says that's not soon enough. They're asking U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy to order the work done by late 2016.

Lynx are rarely seen and there's no reliable estimate of their population. Their 14-state range includes portions of the Northeast, the Rocky Mountains, the Great Lakes and the Cascade Range of Washington and Oregon.


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