The lynx (Lynx canadensis is an endangered member of the cat family. Wildlife biologists are trying to detect lynx in throughout Oregon and Washington. My personal exposure was in Washington's Okanagan region with a local guide, Mark Skatrud. Linda Hunter, author of Lonesome for Bears, provided the photos on this page since I had no camera at the time.
Lynx have a diagonal stride with a relatively wide straddle. They have less foot drag in deep snow than candids.
The lynx is particularly well adapted for snow. The foot is quite large relative to the size of the animal (feet are about cougar size while the abody is about bobcat size). Thus the lynx is better able to stay on top of the snow while other felines and canids sink in.
In the Okanagan (on the East side of the Washington Cascades near the Canadian border), Mark Skatrud guided a group of trackers into the territory of a lynx family during mid-winter. While setting up her tent, a first time tracker in our group looked up to see a lynx staring at her from a few feet away. The next day we followed the lynx tracks all day in the deep, dry powder.
What started out as a single track split when it encountered a transition area between forest and meadow. First one, then a second, and finally a third set of tracks would split from the main trail. A female lynx and her 3 kittens would fan out to flush out a snowshoe hare when the habitat looked promising. Then the kittens would fall back in line, stepping exactly in their mother's footsteps. We also found day beds in the snow.
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