The Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s lynx reintroduction program has been deemed a success! Read the lynx success press release and view a detailed summary of the program off the lynx research page.
The lynx is a large, bob-tailed cat, three feet long with a black-tipped tail only about one-eighth the total length, and only about half the length of its huge hind foot. Weights are 20 – 30 pounds. The coat is grayish, with obscure spots. The magnificent ear tufts may be nearly as long as the actual ears.
The lynx is easily confused with its more common and more widespread relative, the bobcat. The lynx is slightly larger than the bobcat, has grayish (rather than reddish) fur, less prominent spots, a conspicuous ear tuft, and a solid black tip (rather than a black tip broken with a reddish band) on the tail. The lynx’s tail is relatively shorter and its hind foot is much longer (greater than 8 inches, versus less than eight inches in the bobcat).
The lynx lives in North America and Eurasia. Lynx may have disappeared from Colorado by about 1973. Sightings prior to that time were few, scattered throughout mountainous areas of the state. In 1999 an ambitious program of lynx restoration began in the remote San Juan Mountains, and by 2005 more than 200 animals had been released, a number of litters of kittens had been born, and lynx were expanding throughout the high country and occasionally beyond.
The lynx is found in dense subalpine forest and willow-choked corridors along mountain streams and avalanche chutes, the home of its favored prey species, the snowshoe hare. The typical hunting strategy is patience, stalking prey or crouching in wait beside a trail. Often the surprised quarry is overtaken and dispatched in a single, furious bound. Lynx also eat some carrion, and capture ground-dwelling birds (like grouse) and small mammals. Lynx are active throughout the year; their huge hind feet help them move across heavy snow.
Lynx breed in late winter, and after a gestation period of about nine weeks, females produce a litter of about four kittens in April or May.