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The elusiveness of the lynx has proved to be a major frustration in the state's wildlife crossing research. The citizen cameras around Vail Pass captured plenty of images of elk and deer, but no lynx — in fact, no bobcats or mountain lions, either. Did that mean the cats weren't using the same crossings as other animals? Were they avoiding the road entirely? Or were the cameras failing to catch them?

The same mystery surrounds the CSU study, which failed to detect lynx using crossing structures on Berthoud Pass, Wolf Creek Pass and other key linkage points around the state.

"We had all these cameras on Wolf Creek Pass," recalls Chris Haas. "All told, we probably had close to 2,500 camera nights, if you multiply the number of nights they were working by the number of cameras. We never documented a single lynx. We did not have lynx using the structures, but we know from the collars that they're crossing roads."

Biologist Chris Haas has studied wildlife crossings around the state, including this underpass on U.S. 285.
Biologist Chris Haas has studied wildlife crossings around the state, including this underpass on U.S. 285.
After years of lobbying and studies, conservation strategist Monique DiGiorgio sees momentum building for Colorado's wildlife bridge, the first of its kind in the United States.
After years of lobbying and studies, conservation strategist Monique DiGiorgio sees momentum building for Colorado's wildlife bridge, the first of its kind in the United States.

And we know from the roadkill that at least two of them didn't make it across I-70 west of Vail Pass.

If Colorado builds a wildlife bridge over I-70, will the lynx use it? The answer may come years from now, if ever. For now, the efforts to help wildlife cross the road are more...well, pedestrian. This summer, CDOT is completing work on an upgrade of fencing and ramps in the Eagle area, scene of the great wapiti wrangle of last winter, to provide more avenues of escape for animals that wander onto the highway.

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