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Parks Canada worker captures rare Canada lynx video


Posted by in Nature on Saturday, February 23, 2013



Frantic calls to Parks Canada’s dispatch line from concerned park visitors sent Alex Taylor — a Parks Canada human-wildlife conflict specialist in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks — to a spot along the Trans-Canada Highway where a mother lynx and her kitten were lingering next to the fencing meant to protect wildlife from becoming road kill.

“Our conservation officer was able to secure the area of the highway where the lynx were present and help to keep them off the road until they eventually disappeared into the forest,” said Omar McDadi, a Parks Canada Communications Officer.

Since 1996, when the park’s highway fencing went up along with the wildlife overpasses and underpasses, large mammal collisions in the park have reduced by 80 percent. For elk and deer, the collision rate has reduced by 96 percent.

If you have ever visited Banff National Park, Alta., or the surrounding national parks, you are well aware of the plethora of wildlife that inhabit the parks — elk, grizzlies and even the small, lesser known, pika call Banff home.

Canada is home to three species of wild cats: bobcats, cougars and the Canada lynx. Though all three wild cats can be found in Banff National Park, none are seen regularly.

“As the (video) clearly portrays, lynx are incredibly agile and flexible animals — this sequence is nothing short of stunning,” said McDadi. “We believe this is the first time lynx have been captured on film crossing the highway fencing.“

According to Taylor, “Lynx sightings are generally quite rare, with the animals considered to be wary of people and somewhat secretive. It’s entirely possible that you could spend a lifetime in the mountain parks without seeing one. They’re also more active at night, further reducing the likelihood of a visitor stumbling upon one.” In the past year, though, more and more people have been reporting sightings. “It’s been a very good year for lynx sightings in the mountain national parks, and this may be due to a population spike in their preferred prey species, the snowshoe hare.”

Still, park visitors should keep their distance, Taylor said. “Lynx are not considered to be a threat to humans and are quite shy of people. That said, due caution should be taken in the case of an encounter as they are wild animals with predatory instincts.”




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