Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis)
There are two male Canada lynx at the Zoo and they arrived in March of 2013. One was born in 2009 and came from the Yukon Wildlife Preserve in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada and the other, born in 2012, came from the Toronto Zoo.
Status in the wild
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status: Least Concern. Lynx are listed in CITES Appendix II. In March 2000, they were listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as threatened in the lower 48 states. The state of Michigan lists the Canada lynx as endangered.In Canada and Alaska, trapping is regulated through closed seasons, quotas, limited entry, and long-term trapping concessions.
Major populations of Canada lynx are found throughout Canada and Alaska, western Montana, and in nearby parts of Idaho and Washington. Small populations are found in New England, Utah and possibly Oregon, Wyoming and Colorado. Lynx usually live in alpine coniferous or mixed boreal/deciduous forest. They can also be found in more open forests, rocky areas, or tundra. Males occupy distinct territories; home territories of females may overlap.
Snowshoe hares are a primary food source. Populations of the two are known to fluctuate in linked cycles with periods of about 10 years. They may also eat rodents, birds and fish. If they can find a deer, or other large ungulate that is very weak or sick, lynx will kill and eat it. They also feed on carcasses left by human hunters.
- The paws of Canada lynx are webbed, heavily furred and work like snowshoes, distributing the lynx’s weight and helping it move in the snow.
- The name ‘lynx’ comes from the Greek word “to shine.” This may be in reference to the reflective ability of the cat’s eyes.
- Females and young sometimes hunt for hares cooperatively by spreading out in a line and moving through relatively open areas. Prey scared up by one animal is often caught by others in the line. This method can be successful and is a learning opportunity for the young.