A judge has ordered federal wildlife officials to come up with a schedule to complete a long-delayed recovery plan for imperiled Canada lynx.

The snow-loving wild cats were listed as a threatened species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2000. The agency has repeatedly missed its own deadlines to come up with a road map for recovery, drawing a lawsuit last year from environmental groups in Montana.

In a Thursday order, U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy gave federal officials 30 days to propose a schedule for completing the recovery plan.

Lynx are rarely seen across a 14-state range that includes portions of the Northeast, the Rocky Mountains, the Great Lakes and the Cascade Range of Washington and Oregon. It's unknown how many survive in the U.S.