Canada lynx caught on video at Vermont refuge
Video monitoring by refuge staff at the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge captured footage of a Canada lynx on March 1 at the Nulhegan Basin Division in Brunswick, Vt. The camera was set up by refuge intern Andrew Butler as part of an ongoing monitoring effort, and has detected lynx on three separate occasions.
Monitoring began in the winter of 2012 when Vermont Fish and Wildlife and refuge staff conducted winter track surveys, documenting a family group (adult and kittens). This past winter, wildlife biologist Rachel Cliche and Andrew continued conducting winter track surveys and documented another family group.
The Nulhegan Basin Division contains large tracts of spruce fir forest that supports snowshoe hare, the lynx’s main prey, and thus, provides the best lynx habitat in Vermont. However, predictions of warming temperatures and reduced snowfall in the coming years may cause the range of the lynx to shift northward because of reduced suitable habitat and a decreased ability to compete with other carnivores, such as fisher and bobcat. Future monitoring efforts will gather data on lynx use of the refuge and help inform habitat management to benefit the lynx and hare.
A large, carnivorous feline species, Canada lynx are rarely seen because they are nocturnal and secretive. They are similar to bobcats in appearance, but lynx have larger bodies and longer ear tufts than bobcats. The easiest way to distinguish a lynx from a bobcat is by the lynx’s solid black-tipped tail and enormous, furry paws.
Although only four confirmed sightings occurred in the state from the late 1700s to the early 2000s, lynx sightings have been on the increase every year since 2003. The department is conducting surveys to determine the full extent and distribution of lynx in Vermont. Read the rest of this April 2 news release from VT Fish & Wildlife.