In the newest podcast episode of Colorado Outdoors, we flash back 20 years ago to discuss the Canada lynx reintroduction into the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado.
We talk with Senior Wildlife Biologist Scott Wait of CPW’s Southwest Region, who was a part of the original reintroduction efforts as well as Eric Odell, CPW’s Species Conservation Program Manager. Odell provides an update on how lynx are doing in Colorado.
We end the episode by asking if there are parallels that can be drawn from the lynx reintroduction to an upcoming wolf reintroduction, as Coloradans voted to pass Proposition #114 – The Restoration of Gray Wolves, a measure directing the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission to develop a plan to reintroduce gray wolves west of the Continental Divide.
CPW’s mammals research section has found some fascinating information on lynx dispersal after release. The core area where many of the lynx remained was in southwest Colorado, but some animals went incredible distances, including one that made it all the way back to Canada. Some have taken some anomalous courses and gone out into the midwestern part of the United States, but that is not typical. Researchers do find more reports and records of lynx establishing in the middle part of the state, expanding into the I-70 corridor and the high elevation habitat that exists there.
- 2:40 – motivation to reintroduce lynx back in the late 1990s
- 3:50 – planning process to reintroduce lynx
- 5:25 – where did the animals come from
- 6:43 – what was the transaction process to obtain the lynx for reintroduction
- 8:30 – criteria for the animals to bring to Colorado
- 9:40 – how does the process unfold for release
- 11:35 – Scott Wait’s memories of the first release
- 13:15 – figuring out where to release the lynx
- 14:45 – when did the lynx stop being released and why
- 16:55 – why is it important to have lynx in Colorado
- 17:50 – lynx dispersal after release and where can they be found now
- 18:40 – what makes for good lynx habitat
- 19:55 – the physical attributes of lynx
- 21:55 – how many lynx are in Colorado
- 23:50 – how does the species handle human disturbance from high levels of outdoor recreation
- 25:15 – can we learn anything from the lynx reintroduction and apply it to a wolf reintroduction
Podcast hosted by Mark Johnson. Colorado Parks and Wildlife is a nationally recognized leader in conservation, outdoor recreation and wildlife management. The agency manages 42 state parks, all of Colorado’s 960-plus wildlife species, more than 350 state wildlife areas and a host of recreational programs from hunting and fishing to the state’s trails program, boat registrations, snowmobiles, off-highway vehicles and more. All of its management is in perpetuity for the enjoyment of Coloradans and its visitors and this podcast is dedicated to telling the stories and happenings in Colorado’s great outdoors!