The lynx fall under the Endangered Species Act
Environmentalists are suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the Canadian lynx.
The agency issued a finding in December that the lynx in New Mexico warrants federal protection under the Endangered Species Act, but the agency didn't act immediately because it must finish work on other higher-priority listings.
The environmental group WildEarth Guardians filed a lawsuit this week, saying the animal will likely not receive protection for a decade or more because it has been put at the end of a line of 245 species awaiting listing.
Lynx have been reintroduced in southern Colorado over the past 10 years, and some have wandered into New Mexico.
Although the federal government lists the elusive animals as threatened in Colorado and 13 other states, they have no federal protection in New Mexico.