connecting to nature

Canada Lynx Project


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Canada Lynx Project Update, excerpt from our newsletter the Talon:

“It seems like yesterday we were trying to console a mourning Kodiak after the losses of Acadia and Sitka. We lost two females due to genetic heart problems. Unfortunately there have been several other Canada Lynx that have passed across the nation this past year due to heart failure, liver failure and paralysis. So there was a great celebration when Kodiak and Kree had two healthy kittens on May 8, 2015! We all felt like first time mothers as we watched Kree figure out her new role for the first time. She proved to be a fantastic parent and took diligent care of her kittens. In the meantime Kodiak was moved to a bachelor pad for a few weeks as male Canada Lynx do not assist the females in raising young. In fact the presence of a male can stress out the female to the point that they turn on their own kittens.

The two healthy brothers spent several weeks with Kree and then were adopted by their human caretakers to be hand-raised like their parents were. This will allow them to see humans as part of their family and makes any husbandry or veterinary procedures less stressful on the cats. We were able to walk into their cage throughout the entire process safely with the adult cats due to our close bond with them. Kodiak was so happy to be back with Kree that he gave her so many head rubs we were afraid she would be bald upon the adults’ reunion!
In light of the problems that the Canada Lynx is having nationwide we are excited to be adding healthy individuals to the population. This species is in need of genetically diverse and healthy individuals. We look forward to many more kittens from this pair. “

Hawk Creek’s Canada Lynx Project – Why save the Canada Lynx?

The Center’s two Canada lynx continue to grow and bond. Kodiak has matured into a robust adult male that is continuously trying to woo Kree. Kree has grown into her paws and is just approaching sexual maturity. This young pair is displaying all of the characteristics of a well-adjusted and bonded breeding pair so we are looking forward to the 2015 breeding season!

It is no secret or surprise that globally many ecosystems are changing and nature has become unbalanced, creating unhealthy and failing ecosystems. What many people are surprised to discover is that a significant part of ecosystem degradation is due to a decline of large predators, such as wildcats. In the developed world, including the Eastern U.S. and Western Europe, large carnivores have already been practically exterminated. The Canada Lynx is no exception and is listed as threatened by the USFWS in 48 states.  There are approximately 350 Canada Lynx in captivity in the US and many of those cats are beyond reproductive age or at fur farms.

Through captive breeding efforts we will contribute to the conservation of wildcats by helping to rebuild 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.