The cat’s meow

There’s lynx grandchildren in Colorado now, and that’s wonderful news.

Eleven years after the first lynx were reintroduced to this state from Canada and Alaska, the shy cats that live in the mountains now have a self-sustaining population, the Colorado Division of Wildlife, said last week.

There were 14 lynx kittens found in five different dens this spring by DOW researchers. There may be more born in dens to mothers that don’t have radio collars that researchers can track.

Since 2003 at least 141 kittens have been born in Colorado, and some of those are third-generation lynx, the grandchildren of the lynx originally reintroduced here.

All of this is welcome news, and not just because lynx are adorable-looking creatures that appear as if they just arrived from the set of a Disney movie.

More importantly, lynx are original inhabitants of Colorado’s high country. They disappeared as an ever-growing population encroached more and more on their territory.

They were reintroduced to Colorado through a cooperative effort led by the Division of Wildlife, but one that involved funding and cooperation from Vail Associates, environmental organizations, the Colorado Legislature, the U.S. Forest Service and many private donors. That cooperative effort was undertaken while federal officials were considering whether to add the lynx to the Endangered Species list. We hope, given the success of this state’s program, that will no longer be necessary, at least in Colorado.

The announcement that the lynx population is now considered self-sustaining and the program is a success should be cause for celebration by all Coloradans, even if the chances for most of us to actually spot a lynx in the wild are very slim.


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