Inside the search for the far north lynx

In her research of one of many farthest north lynx populations in North America this summer time, Claire Montgomerie used her ears. Whereas wanting on the satellite tv for pc tracker a feminine lynx was sporting, Montgomerie noticed the animal was hanging round a hillside north of the Arctic Circle, not removed from Coldfoot.

The College of Alaska Fairbanks graduate scholar suspected the lynx may need paused in its fixed wandering to offer start to a den of kittens.

Montgomerie enlisted a number of helpers from her base in Wiseman and headed to the place she’d seen clusters of monitoring factors on her pc. After about forty five minutes within the boreal forest close to the Dalton Freeway, she obtained her break.

“I heard this little hissing noise,” Montgomerie stated. “It was very delicate, like a breath.”

She approached the feline whisper, poked her head in some brush and parted a couple of birch saplings. There, on the root ball of a downed balsam poplar, have been six lynx kittens the dimensions of yarn balls.

Montgomerie’s work is a part of a research of the elements contributing to the cycles of lynx and snowshoe hares. She is on a college and Nationwide Park Service staff understanding of Wiseman. The researchers, together with Knut Kielland, Maddie McConnell and Donna DiFolco, are taking a look at hares, lynx and nice horned owls on the northern fringe of the boreal forest.

On the den website, Montgomerie picked up every tiny lynx — lower than two weeks previous and nonetheless with cloudy eyes that did not appear to concentrate on her — and weighed it. Every little cat was about 600 grams, about as a lot as a basketball, and slot in her palm.

“They have been undoubtedly one-handable,” she stated.

UAF professor Knut Kielland listens for radio-collared snowshoe hares north of Coldfoot on the Dalton Freeway in July 2017. (Ned Rozell)

She punched a tag of their ears in hopes of figuring out the kittens once more ought to she seize them as adults. Then she and her companions changed the kittens and tried to make the location look because it did earlier than they arrived.

Again in Wiseman, Mongomerie opened her pc and watched the satellite tv for pc monitoring collar of “Rosie,” the mom lynx that was not current when Montgomerie was on the den. Rosie, whom the staff had captured in a close-by cage lure in March, had returned to her kittens on the hillside. Her collar confirmed she then moved them, maybe mouthing every behind the neck and carrying them to a brand new den website inside a half mile of the previous one.

The northern research of lynx, hares and nice-horned…

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