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

  • brandona52163-
    2/06/2017 - 01:09 p.m.

    the lynx look like they are not hostile.

  • kyled2929779-
    2/06/2017 - 01:10 p.m.

    because that no one was messing with it,so it thought i will just relax from all the walking

  • samb-ver
    2/10/2017 - 10:20 a.m.

    I think that it's funny that people build a ski hill in the middle of a place were millions of predators live and creatures, and then we're the ones that are surprised. :D

  • samid-ver
    2/10/2017 - 02:33 p.m.

    I love this article because it shows how much animals don't care about humans. It's incouraging biologists. Lynx are kind of dying out and to see so many of them in the past month is exciting.

  • jamesz-ver
    2/10/2017 - 03:30 p.m.

    In this article I believe that people shouldn't be bothering or be scared of the lynx since it's a small mammal. But it doesn't mean that the lynx are out of the endangered list but people gives them hope that there still around in these days.

  • nicholash2003-
    2/15/2017 - 08:43 a.m.

    The lynx seemed relaxed because they are docile animals, they eat snowshoe hares. Likely they would not take anything as large as a human, but still very unpredictable.

  • myahr-orv
    3/12/2017 - 06:58 p.m.

    I don't know exactly why they seemed relaxed, but I do know that a reason is that lynx's don't normally attack humans so they don't see humans as a threat. I wish I could've been there to see the lynx's because I like animals..

  • madelync-
    3/16/2017 - 08:38 a.m.

    The lynx seem so relaxed because of the high altitude forests. They also aren't a threat to people unless you approach them.

  • jordanm-ver
    3/17/2017 - 10:08 a.m.

    The lynx seemed relaxed because the guys weren't causing any harm to the lynx and her kitten. The lynx doesn't wanna bother them because there's pretty calm. They don't wanna hurt you

  • alannab1-sto
    3/21/2017 - 02:51 p.m.

    lynx seem relaxed because they dont cause any harm to people and he/she is comfortable in the spot they are at.The lynx are calm towards people because no one shows them harm but if they do they lynx can become mad and frustrated.

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