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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Wildlife officials have captured a radio-collared Canada lynx in Emery County and sent it back to Colorado to keep the animal from being mistaken for a bobcat by trappers.
The lynx, a 5-year-old male trapped in British Columbia as part of Colorado's efforts to restore the endangered species, first entered Utah in mid-July north of Vernal. It crossed the south slope of the Uinta Mountains, hit the Wasatch Front and headed south.
The animal made its way almost to Kanab before turning around and heading north again, eventually ending up near the town of Emery in north central Utah.
"He had been there five or six weeks and it looked like he was going to stay for a while," said Kevin Bunnell, mammals coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
Bobcat, a species not federally protected, and Canada lynx are frequently confused, and wildlife officials feared the male could be lost when the state bobcat hunting and trapping season begins Wednesday.
"We didn't want a trapper to get in trouble," Bunnell said. "They look so much alike, and no trapper would expect that a lynx would be in the area."
Wildlife officials used the signal from the cat's radio collar to pinpoint its location and set traps on private land after getting permission from the owner.
The deported male lynx was caught Nov. 5 after two nights of trapping and is back in Colorado. He will eventually be set free in the San Juan Mountains near Creede, where he was originally released.
The animal was one of three lynx known to have frequented Utah this summer. The only remaining animal is a female detected in early September.
Another male lynx that entered Utah about the same time as the captured animal has left the state and is believed to be in Idaho.
Utah wildlife officials will ask Colorado biologists to move the female if she wanders into a place frequented by bobcat hunters or trappers.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)