How to Catch a (Wild)cat

Tracking lynx across the vast landscapes of Alaska

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The Canada Lynx (Lynx canadensis)
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Lynx are similar in size and appearance to a bobcat, but have longer ear tufts and feet specially adapted for deep snow.
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Left photo: snowshoe hare tracks cross a frozen northern lake. Right photo: a lynx opens up into a sprint down the trail.
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A lynx squints into the sun, showing the vertical pupil shape that is typical in small ambush hunters, especially felines.
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The moon setting over frozen March tundra and black spruce forest.

Catching Cats

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Listening for lynx
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Getting ready for the Arctic environment. Middle photo: “bunny boots” are a favorite cold weather boot in the far north.
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The research team travels by snowmachine along a trapline.
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Scent lures of beaver and wildcat
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Re-setting a trap and hanging up a visual feather cue nearby
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Bertram crouches down in front of a captured lynx.
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An injection needle with sedative attaches to a long “jab stick,” allowing Bertram to inject the cat from a distance through the cage.
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Carrying a sedated lynx out of the trap.
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Attaching a GPS collar, measuring the hind foot, and measuring teeth as part of data collection about the health of the lynx.
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As she shakes off the sedative, the lynx begins to right herself onto the snow.
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Heading back into the forest.
Watch a short video about tracking and trapping lynx at Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge

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Stories from Alaska by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

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