The lynx effect: Beautiful rare cat caught on camera in Canada

Ruth Doherty

A rare Canadian lynx has been caught on camera crossing a wildlife highway overpass.

While it is common to see herbivores like deer crossing these paths, it is very rare to see a lynx using one.

Automatic motion-sensitive cameras installed by researchers at Banff National Park in Alberta caught the cat in commute mode on the 28 March crossing the Trans-Canada Highway near Lake Louise.

Spokesman for the Banff National Park, Omar Mcdadi, told Aol Travel that researchers had only seen lynx use the overpass a "handful of times", but "never before have we captured such a striking image".

The highway overpasses were built in 1996 and are meant to allow wildlife to migrate through the park without the danger of being hit by traffic.

Omar explained: "There are six animal overpasses and 38 underpasses that criss-cross theTrans-Canada Highway in Banff National Park. These structures were built when the road was upgraded to help reduce the number of animal-vehiclencollisions, allow wildlife to access valuable resources on both sides of the highway, and improve visitor safety and the flow of goods.

"Since 1996, over 200,000 large animals – including grizzly bears, cougars and wolves – have been observed to use these wildlife crossings to get from one side of the highway to the other, though only a handful of lynx have used them.

"The amount of time each species takes to adapt to using the crossing structures has varied. Some, like elk and deer, start using them as soon as they are built. Others, such as lynx, appear to have a much steeper learning curve."

According to Omar, lynx are less likely to use them because they "prefer to roam in high elevation evergreen forests where they can locate their favourite food, snowshoe hare."

He added: "Studies have shown that a single lynx can eat up to 200 snowshoe hare in one year.

"Lynx are very well adapted to snow and winter in the rugged Canadian Rockies. Lynx have huge snowshoe-like feet that allow them to float on top of the snow pack and seek out their prey."

Banff National Park is located in the Rocky Mountains, and is thought to be Canada's oldest park, opening in 1885.

It is home to around 60 species of animal, including lynx, weasels, cougars, wolves, grizzly and black bears, beavers, porcupines and chipmunks.

Omar said there are around the same number of lynx in the park as grizzly bears, with numbers being in the dozens rather than the hundreds.

See more of nature's beautiful creatures below:


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