Lynx survive but don’t breed in past 2 years

Brief by Central Staff

Wildlife – August 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

Tomcats have a certain reputation, but it appears that they’re not living up to it in Colorado — at least if they’re lynx.

Closely related to bobcats, lynx have tufted ears and bigger feet, which enable them to get around better in the snow for their favorite prey, snowshoe hares. Alaskan and Canadian lynx were re-introduced into the state in 1999 through 2006, and have established a fairly stable population.

But for the second straight year, no lynx kittens have been found by the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

According to a Division press release, “the cats are establishing good social structures and exhibiting breeding behavior; males are establishing territories and lynx are behaving as they should in the wild.”

But there aren’t any kittens. That may be on account of a decline in snowshoe hare population; the cats find enough food to survive, but not enough to sustain pregnancies. And since kittens born in the wild lack radio collars for tracking, those born in earlier years could be reproducing by now.

To find out more about fluctuations of the snowshoe hare population, the DOW will be conducting a small study in Taylor Park this coming winter.