Photo courtesy of
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
"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
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.