Wednesday, July 13, 2005

New Lynx Kittens in Colorado

A record 46 kittens were born to transplanted lynx in Colorado this spring, and some of the mothers are settling down with the same mate year after year.

"We are starting to see a stable social structure evolve and family relationships become established," said Tanya Shenk, a researcher for the state Division of Wildlife.

Researchers found litters spread throughout the central and southern mountains this year. A total of 16 lynx had kittens, some of them for the second or third time.

Adult lynx released in Colorado are equipped with radio collars for tracking. Kittens are to small for collars, but biologists implant microchips under their skin. The microchips don't allow the kittens to be tracked by radio, but they can be identified with a hand-held scanner at close range.

The lynx is similar in size to a bobcat, with the male cats averaging 24 pounds and the females averaging 20 pounds.

Unlike bobcats, lynx have long, fluffy, gray to tan fur and big, widespread paws that allow them to walk on snow.

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