Amazing journey has a sad conlclusion
A Canadian lynx released in Colorado in 2003 traveled 1,200 miles back to Canada in what was likely a record journey that ended in death on Jan. 28.
"It was an incredible trek," said Gabriela Yates, the lynx project manager at the University of Alberta in Canada. "The fact of where this started, where it ended and the children this lynx had, it is really an incredible story."
The male lynx, known by the scientific designator BC-03-M-02, was captured as a 2-year-old near Kamloops, British Columbia, in 2003. He was released in southwestern Colorado near Creede as part of a species-reintroduction program on April 16, 2003.
For the next four years, the Colorado Division of Wildlife kept track of the collared lynx, a small wildcat with tufted ears. During that time, he fathered two sets of kittens, two in 2005, and four in 2006.
Then, sometime after a last fixed position was recorded on April 20, 2007, the lynx vamoosed.
No one knows what might have happened to the lynx over the next 33 months.
Then Bryan Anger, a trapper from Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, found BC-03-M-02 dead in his trap line on Jan. 28.
"When he (Anger) found a radio-collared lynx in his trap line, he was absolutely horrified," Yates recalled. "When he saw the radio collar, he immediately called me. He said, 'I'm so sorry, I've got one of your cats.' "
Tanya Shenk of the Colorado Division of Wildlife said the vast majority of the 218 lynx introduced to Colorado from Canada have stayed in Colorado, or have roamed up to Wyoming and Montana, then returned to Colorado.
"It reflects well on our habitat," said Shenk. "We have something really good to offer them."