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Cook County Star, 6/17/04

Photo courtesy of NRRI
This adorable kitten is one of three born to a Lynx being tracked by the USDA Forest Service for the University of Minnesota Natural Resources Research Institute.

Lynx kittens found
in Superior National Forest

The addition of the Canada lynx to the list of threatened species under the Endangered Species Act in 2000 spurred a need for more information about the Canada lynx in Minnesota. A January 2002 study by the USDA Forest Service confirmed lynx presence in the Superior National Forest, and more intensive lynx studies began. The most recent report is very encouraging-lynx kittens have been found in the Superior National Forest.
A visit to the den of female lynx "L07," one of 13 lynx being tracked in a radio telemetry study, turned up three healthy kittens. The kittens were measured, weighed, and fitted with a small ear tag. Canada lynx had been presumed scarce in Minnesota since 1984 and were listed as a threatened species in 2000 under the Endangered Species Act.
Scientists think that another radio collared lynx, "L05," located about 35 miles northwest of the den site in early June, is the father of these kittens. L05 was originally captured and fitted with a collar near Brule Lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in 2003. He has ranged from Grand Marais to Two Harbors, survived being inadvertently caught in a trapper's snare, and then spent several weeks with L07 this winter. Blood and hair samples collected for DNA analysis may confirm whether or not L05 fathered these kittens.
"Finding a den with kittens is a milestone in our study because it documents once and for all that Canada lynx are reproducing in the Superior National Forest," said Ed Lindquist, forest wildlife biologist for Superior National Forest.
Additional dens must be found before conclusions can be made about Canada lynx den habitat in Minnesota. Locating this den makes it possible to identify at least one type of Canada lynx den habitat. Further measurements and evaluation of the site will be completed after the mother and kittens move away from the den.
Radio-tracking the mother allows the lynx study team to monitor the three kittens to see how well they survive the coming months. The ear tags will identify these kittens if they disperse. Project biologists continue to encourage the public to report lynx sightings by calling 1-800-234-0054, or by sending an email to lynx@nrri.umn.edu.
The study is a collaborative effort of the UDSA Forest Service and the University of Minnesota Duluth Natural Resources Research Institute. More information about the Canada lynx study, along with additional photos of the kittens, can be found on the Internet www.nrri.umn.edu/lynx/index.html.

 

 

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