Eurasian Lynx Project

Through captive breeding efforts we contribute to the conservation of wildcats by helping to maintain the genetic health of the captive population. This not only provides the opportunity for future reintroduction programs, but also addresses one of the largest threats to large predators today – human intolerance. People have a fear of living alongside large carnivores, which is cultivated by sensationalized media. It is only through education, which leads to understanding and respect for these animals’ vital role in nature, that people will learn to live with them and care about their continued survival. Meeting these elusive predators face-to-face is the most powerful education opportunity that can be provided. People often forget that every wild animal has a purpose, a reason to exist and a vital role to play on our planet. They are not a luxury, they are a necessity.

Hawk Creek started our Eurasian Lynx conservation program in 2016.

In 2017 Turk and Raina produced their second litter of kittens, two spotted boys. Raina was once again a wonderful, proud mother. She happily purred and showed off her kittens. One of these kittens, Tracker, has found his forever home at Hawk Creek and has been traveling for programs throughout NY educating people about this magnificent species and the importance of wild cat conservation. He is a reminder that conservation works— Eurasian Lynx were an endangered species with as few as 700 cats left in the wild between 1930-1950. Thanks to conservation work the population has increased 10 fold. Tracker has been stealing people’s hearts with his laid back personality. When he isn’t “working” (aka being adored by his fans) his favorite pastime is going sledding with his trainers—he jumps in every sled and wagon he can!

2023 was an interesting year for Eurasian Lynx pair Turk and Raina. For the first time in 7 years Raina gave birth to a litter of 3 cubs! In the past she always adhered to the species standard of 1-2 cubs in a litter, but if you’ve ever met Raina you already know that she is anything but ordinary! As if this rarity wasn’t enough, she also blessed us with a second litter of a single cub outside of the typical lynx breeding season – in her defense Turk is quite the stud.

While the cubs were busy growing and learning how to be lynx, the complex process of determining the ideal placement for these cubs, both individually and in the best interest of the species, was already well under way. Genetic diversity monitoring is crucial in captive breeding programs. As such it is vital that bloodlines are periodically exchanged to other populations to ensure gene pools do not become stagnant. This remained forefront in our minds when we were approached about the need for foundation breeding lynx with new, unrepresented genetics in South African facilities. After much deliberation and screening we agreed that it was the right decision to send some of the cubs to approved facilities to reinvigorate the lynx population in South Africa. This was a large undertaking that foraged new partnerships with other conservation organizations, and we are excited about the future conservation opportunities.