Lynx makes tracks to McClure Pass
A lynx, released near Creede in March by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, has traveled to near McClure Pass south of Redstone.
Todd Malmsbury, a spokesman for the DOW, said the animal was missing for nearly four months before it was located just south of Carbondale more than a week ago. The cat was found when the signal from its radio transmitter collar was picked up by a DOW plane on July 23.
“This is actually one of the most interesting animals we’ve got out there right now,” Malmsbury said. The animal, a two-year-old female from Canada’s Yukon Territory, is one of 41 released in southwestern Colorado since February as part of a reintroduction program. It was released on March 19.
Malmsbury declined to release the exact location of the animal. “We’re trying to be pretty vague about location,” he said, so that no one will attempt to find the animal and do harm to it. One lynx released in the program was killed by a gunshot.
At any rate, Malmsbury said, detection of the collar’s radio signal from the air does not yield an exact location. If it’s necessary to locate one of the cats, it’s done by wildlife personnel on the ground, using a technique called triangulation, he said.
Though the condition of the lynx is not known, Malmsbury said, the animal is apparently adapting to its new environment well – it survived the heavy snows of late April and early May and must be killing prey to survive.
Malmsbury said some of the animals have stayed near the area where they were released, but others have traveled a considerable distance. One lynx released in the program is now near Rifle. One traveled 50 miles into New Mexico before returning to Colorado, and another was tracked to a point near Interstate 25 in southern Colorado. He said wildlife personnel expect the wandering cats to settle down somewhat as winter approaches.
Not all the lynxes in the program have fared so well. Of 41 Alaskan and Canadian cats released, eight have died so far. Two were killed on highways and five starved to death. The DOW expected a high mortality rate for the elusive cats, noted for their tufted ears.
The reintroduction of lynxes is not the first such project attempted in Colorado. Elk from Yellowstone Park were transported to Colorado after the species was nearly wiped out in the state about 100 years ago.
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