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Lynx Reintroduction Program
Lynx Reintroduction Program
Crouching Lynx

​ Success of the Lynx reintroduction program


In 1997, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) undertook what was to become one of North America’s most high-profile carnivore reintroductions to date. The goal of CPW’s lynx reintroduction program was to establish a self-sustaining lynx population within Colorado, where biologists felt quality lynx habitat still existed. The observations and lessons from this program – the latest in a long line of successful CPW reintroductions – may be helpful in planning future carnivore reintroductions such as wolverines in Colorado and elsewhere.

Benchmarks for success

To evaluate the short-term success of lyn x reintroduction efforts, the CPW established a set of benchmarks for tracking progress toward a self-sustaining lynx population in Colorado:

  • Reintroduced lynx demonstrate a high rate of survival in the critical first months after release

  • Released adult lynx demonstrate low mortality rates over the longer term, particularly in good habitat

  • Lynx remain in good habitat at densities sufficient for breeding

  • Reintroduced lynx successfully reproduce

  • Lynx born in Colorado survive and also successfully reproduce (called “recruitment”)

  • Lynx recruitment equals or exceeds mortality over an extended period of time

Reintroduced lynx have been monitored by the CPW for over a decade to track the population’s progress toward reaching these benchmarks. As of summer 2010, all benchmarks for successful lynx reintroduction have been met. 

For more details and a map showing lynx locations, see Lynx Reintroduction Assessment.

Listen to the Colorado Public Radio interview with Colorado Parks and Wildlife Species Conservation Coordinator, Eric Odell.