Lynx surprises skiers
Lynx surprises skiers This Dec. 15, 2016 photo provided by Dontje Hildebrand shows two lynx walking along a highway in Molas Pass outside of Silverton in southwestern Colorado. (Dontje Hildebrand via AP)
Lynx surprises skiers
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Some elusive and charismatic lynx have been parading past awestruck Colorado residents and visitors this winter. The animals have excited social media and given biologists reason to smile.
One of the rare, fluffy-looking cats strolled nonchalantly across the Purgatory resort in southwestern Colorado recently. It threaded its way through a crowd of skiers and snowboarders who swerved around the animal and stopped to take videos.
Two weeks earlier, a pair of lynx loped along a mountain highway a few feet from Dontje Hildebrand's car.
"My heart just about busted out of my chest when I realized what I was seeing," said Hildebrand, who was driving over Molas Pass, about 15 miles north of the Purgatory resort. There, he came upon a female lynx and her kitten.
Between 50 and 250 lynx live in the wild in Colorado, mostly in the southwestern corner of the state, biologists say. That's down from previous estimates of 200 to 300. But officials cite better calculations, not a population decline.
They are protected under the Endangered Species Act in the contiguous 48 states.
Lynx are native to Colorado. They virtually disappeared from the state by the 1970s because of hunting, poisoning and development. The state brought them back starting in 1999, transplanting lynx from Canada and Alaska.
The medium-size cats have tufted ears, short tails and broad paws that work like snowshoes. Their paws let them walk across powdery snow. They can grow to nearly 3 feet long and 30 pounds.
Wildlife officials don't know exactly how many live in Colorado because they are so hard to find, said Joe Lewandowski. He is a spokesman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
A few people report seeing them every year, but those sightings don't help with the science of lynx reintroduction because they are anecdotal, Lewandowski said.
"But it's encouraging," he said.
The state documents where the animals live with a survey, using automated cameras. They are mounted in remote lynx country.
The sightings indicate the cats are getting comfortable in the high-altitude forests of southwestern Colorado. It is prime lynx habitat.
The lynx appearance at Purgatory on Dec. 28 was unusual because so many people saw it, Lewandowski said.
Lynx generally are not a threat to people, he said. They are docile. They eat mostly snowshoe hares. And they likely would not take on anything as large as a human. But they also are unpredictable. People should never approach them or feed them, he said.

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Why did the lynx seem relaxed?
Write your answers in the comments section below

  • ygadh-wim4
    1/20/2017 - 11:47 a.m.

    I think it is great that people (us) have found the prime lynx so we can better protect these rare creatures.

  • abash-wim4
    1/20/2017 - 11:53 a.m.

    I think the Lynx seem relaxed because, they're in their natural habitat and they're getting more comfortable in the high- altitude forests of southwestern Colorado. People shouldn't be afraid of lynx because they aren't a threat to people, they're docile. I think it's pretty cool to see a lynx in its natural habitat.

  • zachh1-smi
    1/20/2017 - 02:35 p.m.

    I think lynx are relaxed because they dont eat much love snow and dont eat humans

  • brennana1-bla
    1/27/2017 - 08:33 a.m.

    I think the lynx was relaxed because he/she has started to realize humans are not a huge threat. Plus, no one has seemed to harm then, and maybe they know there is a good chance they never will. Plus, they are in their natural habitat, with no reason to fear people. Also, they wouldn't take on a human because they are too big and have a small chance of living if they did. Also, they are very "docile" animals. They eat mostly only snowshoe hares, and wouldn't see interest in eating a human.

  • kayleel-bla
    1/27/2017 - 11:56 a.m.

    The lynx seemed so relaxed, because "They are getting comfortable in the high-altitude forest of southwestern Colorado." The southwestern part of states are a prime habitat to the lynx. " They are mounted in remote lynx country."

  • tristene-bla
    1/27/2017 - 11:56 a.m.

    The lynx seemed relaxed because the people were not hearting them in any way. And it is there natural habitat to live up there in high mountains. The lynx had all the food it needed up there in the mountains like the snowshoe hare. that is why the lynx was relaxed and did not care were it was.

  • ninac-bla
    1/27/2017 - 12:03 p.m.

    The lynx seemed relaxed because it has probably been a long time since the last time they saw a human, so they most likely did not want to interact with us. Also, they don't eat humans like us-they eat snowshoe hares most of the time. So they were maybe just looking for some food and were not interested in the people that they were around. But even so, if the lynx are calm, people should be as well because they can scare off the animal very quickly if they aren't. So overall, the lynx seemed relaxed because they were probably just looking for some food and were not interested in the humans around them, and they did not want to become involved.

  • gracieb-bla
    1/27/2017 - 01:09 p.m.

    The Lynx have been coming really close to the Purgatory just walking. Also some people are scared something will happen to them but really lynx only eat snowshoe hares.
    I really liked this article because, I like snow animals and I think it is cool how close they are coming. The lynx is really relaxed and it is awesome how they are just walking by without a care in the world.

  • andresb-
    2/01/2017 - 09:04 a.m.

    The lynx seemed relaxed because it wasn't being threatened by the people. also we are a lot bigger than its normal prey.

  • crowan-dav
    2/02/2017 - 07:10 p.m.

    In response to "Lynx Surprises Skiers," I agree that Lynxes shouldn't be feared. One reason I agree is that the Lynx are minding there own business and as long as you don't mess with them, they won't bother you. Another reason is that if they look not harmful or relaxed they are okay and will not hurt you. It says in the article "One of the rare, fluffy-looking cats strolled nonchalantly across the Purgatory resort in southwestern Colorado recently. It threaded its way through a crowd of skiers and snowboarders who swerved around the animal and stopped to take videos," which shows that if the Lynxes are letting them take pictures of them, then they are not harmful. Even though Lynxes are wild cats, I think
    Lynxes are only just walking through and don't want any trouble.

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