Lynx Sighting; Rare Colorado Cat Captured On Camera [PHOTO]

By iScienceTimes Staff on January 25, 2013 11:41 AM EST

Maybe they're there for the legalized weed ...

A lynx sighting in Colorado is getting viral views, thanks in large part to Reddit users sharing the love online. The lynx sighting occurred in southwest Colorado, an unusual locale for lynx sightings since the animals typically live in Canada and Alaska. According to Fox 31 in Denver, a lynx sighting in the Rockies is incredibly rare. The animal became extinct in Colorado in 1970. According to the Colorado Division of Wildlife, a program to reintroduce the lynx population began in 1997, but took over a decade to reach success. The lynx sighting is so rare, in fact, that the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Service posted the user pic to their Facebook page. Here's a look at the lynx sighting that has everyone so excited.

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Rare lynx sighting in Colorado captivates Reddit. (Photo: Facebook)
Rare lynx sighting in Colorado captivates Reddit. (Photo: Facebook)

The lynx sighting is rare because the population in Colorado is still recovering from the 1970 extinction event. Between 2003 and 2010, only 141 lynx kittens were born in Colorado although researchers believe the birth rate is outpacing the mortality rate for the lynx. Colorado Division of Wildlife director Tom Remington said in a press release that the lynx project was one of the most "ambitious and significant" state-led reintroductions in years.

According to the Colorado Parks And Wildlife Service, the lynx sighting could be proof that the reintroduction efforts are working. The history of the effort is as follows. 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 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. Lynx are active throughout the year; their huge hind feet help them move across heavy snow.

One Reddit user shared the details of his own lynx sighting once the picture began to gain popularity.

"I live in the foothills of Colorado and I saw one of these guys in my yard last month. Went out to get something from my car and one was just sitting in the shade besides the back wheel. By the time I noticed, I was about 15 feet from it and couldn't help but walk away rather quickly after realizing it wasn't a house cat! It was a lot smaller than these look, so it was probably pretty young, born in the wild after being reintroduced? In any case, I had no idea they were reintroducing them back into the wild. This is great. Lynx are just awesome."

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