Scientific Name: Lynx canadensis

Status: Federally Threatened, State Endangered


The Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s lynx reintroduction program has been deemed a success!

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 Lynx paw prints where seen in the snow. 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.

Lynx Prints Benefit Wildlife Society & Scholarship Fund

“Silent Predator”, a limited edition print by well-known wildlife artist Edward Aldrich, is available for sale. The print was commissioned by the Colorado Chapter of The Wildlife Society. 50% of profits from sales of the lynx print will go toward the Jim Olterman Memorial Scholarship Fund, with the remainder of profits supporting general operations of the Colorado Chapter of The Wildlife Society.

Jim Olterman was a biologist with the Colorado Parks and Wildlife for 30 years. He died when the plane he was flying crashed while stocking fish into a high mountain lake.

The Fund is used to support the Jim Olterman Scholarship Award, which is given annually to an outstanding upper-class undergraduate student majoring in wildlife biology or a closely related major. The recipient receives a $500 scholarship and plaque, and the recipient’s name is placed on a traveling plaque that resides at the individual’s college or university. The print measures 29" x 23" and sells for $75 (plus $7 for S+H). Artist proofs are also available for $100 (while supplies last). Please fill out and mail in an order form along with a check or money order or call ​​970-842-6314.

Note cards are also for sale at $1.00 per card plus shipping.

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