BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A judge has ordered the U.S. Forest Service to consult with wildlife officials to protect Canada lynx in portions of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. U.S.

District Judge Dana Christensen said in Thursday's order that the Forest Service drafted management plans for 11 national forests that did not consider critical lynx habitat designations. Such a designation can determine what activities are allowed on forest land. Canada lynx are a threatened species believed to number in the hundreds in the lower 48 states.

Plaintiffs from the Cottonwood Environmental Law Center said Christensen's ruling will ensure adequate plans are in place to lynx to protect lynx across 10 million acres. Forest Service spokesman Phil Sammon says agency attorneys are reviewing the ruling to determine the scope of its impact.