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Lynx

There are 3 lynx´s living in Polar Park. The female is called Josefin. She was born in 2004 (wild caught by the University of Oslo). The male lynx was born in 2001 in Langedrag and is called Rødpus. The daughter of Josefin is Shimmer, born 2009 in Polar Park. Furthermore, Josefin has given birth to another three lynx in 2015.

2016-04-0214:30 Polar Park

Lynx (Lynx lynx) is the only wild cat animal in Norway. The species lives mainly in forest areas in many parts of Norway, and the densest populations are in central and eastern Norway. 

The lynx is widespread across much of Europe and Asia. 

The species has the status of vulnerable on the Norwegian Red List of species 2010. 

Biology

The males weigh on average is about 23 kilograms and the females about 17 kilograms. It is very rare for individuals to weigh over 25 kg. 

Lynx can be up to 1,2 meters long with a short tail with a black tip. The head is round, with long whiskers, and the legs are long with large furry paws, which are well adapted to snow. 

The coat is covered with more or less distinct black spots. In winter, the coat is thick gray-white, while in the summer it is thin, smooth and reddish brown with a white belly. 

Stealthy hunter

Lynx eat mainly deer, where available, and the main prey is deer and reindeer. Sheep can also be an important prey of lynx in the summer. They also eat smaller animals such as hares, birds and foxes. 

Cat animals sneak to the prey and attack with a few quick leaps. The lynx is a very fast and efficient hunter, but on the other hand not very persistent. Two of three successful hunting attempts are endend after only between 20 and 30 meters, and it is rare that a successful hunt is over 100 meters. 

Lynx prefer to eat fresh meat. If the lynx is not disturbed, it can often be at a carcass until most of the meat is consumed. 

Born with closed eyes

Adults lynx spend time mostly for themselves in one year, and only together with other adult lynx during the mating period. They defend their territory against others of the same gender, but there may be a large overlap between the areas for males and females.

Approximately 60 percent of the females become sexually mature as early as the second year of their life. The mating season is in March and the females have a gestation period of 70 days. Most young litters are born in late May and early June. The size of the litter varies from one to four cubs, but the most common is two to three kids. 

Cubs weigh from 300 to 350 grams when they are born. They are well developed, but have closed eyes, which open only after three weeks. The kittens are growing fast. They are breastfed until they are between five and six months old, even though they are eating solid food as early as they are about eight weeks old. 

Initially the mother hunts for up to 24 hours while the kids are still in the den. When the kittens are around two months old, they begin to follow the mother around the area. In the period from February to May the cubs leave their mother, and the area the were born in.

Defending their territorry

Adult lynx spend time mostly for themselves, and only together with other adult lynx during the mating period. They defend their territory against others of the same gender, but there may be a large overlap between the areas for males and females. 

The size of the habitat depends on how much prey it has. In areas where there is little prey, adult males live on about 900 square kilometers, while the females living on 600 square kilometers. In areas with higher densities of prey are habitats averaging 600 square kilometers for males and 300 square kilometers for females. 

Population status (before the hunt in 2013)

Lynx population in 2013 was estimated at approximately 350 animals in Norway, from 59 registered family.  

Living areas

Lynx is found today in many parts of the country, with the densest populations in central and eastern Norway. It lives mainly in forested areas, and during the day it is usually resting places in steep and inaccessible terrain, often with dense vegetation. 

During the hunt at night it moves in all types of terrain and can move close to the buildings. 

A hunted hunter

From 1845 to 1980, there was a government´s bounty of lynx in Norway, with no restrictions on the hunt. In the period from 1856 to 1880, in avarage 127 lynx were hunted each year and the stock went back. 

Already in 1850 the lynx was a rare animal in many Norwegian counties In the beginning of the1900s there were only small populations left.. 

Removed bounty

From the 1940s until the 1960 lynx came back to more parts of Norway and the northern limit of distribution was moved to Troms. 

In 1980 the system of bounty abolished, and in 1981 protection was introduces during the breeding season.  

In 1994, the Norwegian Government introduced quota regulations, with the exception of Finnmark and parts of southern and western Norway. Here there were no quota restrictions in hunting season.Since the 1990s lynx population is growing. 

LYNX FACTS

Scientific Name: Lynx lynx 

Length: (without tail) up to 120 cm, with a short tail of 10-25 cm. 

Weight: Males average 23 kg, female 17 kg, male can weigh up to 25 kilograms. 

Distribution: Lynx live in the northern part of the world, from Scandinavia to Siberia, Canada and northern United States. It is also found in some places in Central Europe. 

Biology: Sexually mature at 2-3 years of age, pregnant approx. 70 days, 1-4 cubs, giving birth in May-June 

Diet: Roe deer, hares, rodents, birds, foxes, deer, sheep 

Age: Up to 17 years of age. In Polar Park up to 25 years.

Trevor Wagland

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