Rare Lynx Spotted in Jasper National Park

According to the Edmonton Vue Weekly, 3 lynx were spotted in Jasper National Park near Marmot Basin on March 16. Sightings are rare so this was a treat. Click the link to see a picture and video of the lynx in Jasper.

According to Parks Canada’s February 2008 E-News here, there have been several recent sightings of lynx in Jasper. Wes Bradford, Jasper National Park’s Wildlife/Human Conflicts Specialist, says the cause is due to an increase in population of their primary food source, the rabbit. Another cause is the weather. As the snow thaws this time of year, it is sometimes easier for a lynx to walk on a roadway than the snow.

Bradford points out that mating season is also causing movement among lynx as males and females seek each other out. Females also kick sub-adults out of their litter during this season causing some confused immature lynx to wander.

Parks Canada’s Bradford provides advice to Jasper National Park visitors:

  • Watch for lynx and other animals who are using park roads even more than usual;
  • Slow down. It’s always easier to brake for wildlife if you’re already traveling a little slower;
  • Be aware that during these spring conditions, a lynx may remain on the road sunning itself even if you drive right up to it.

Neat. The only place I’ve seen lynx in person was at Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida (pictured). It’s a Siberian Lynx not unlike what was seen in Jasper National Park. The Jasper National Park’s Canadian Lynx have slightly browner fur.

Learn more about the Canadian Lynx in other Canada national parks here.

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2 comments to Rare Lynx Spotted in Jasper National Park

  • Nate Berg

    I study Canada lynx and snowshoe hares in Yellowstone National Park in the United States. Just curious…is the snowshoe hare and lynx populations peaking in Alberta and elsewhere in Canada? Thanks in advance for your insight!

  • Not sure exactly but there’s an interesting article here: http://www.hww.ca/hww2.asp?id=84

    The article says this:
    “The lynx preys almost exclusively on the snowshoe hare. Since snowshoe hare populations follow a 10-year cycle, lynx numbers also fluctuate dramatically, building to a peak as hare populations increase, and then crashing. Scientists who have examined the fur-trading records of the Hudson’s Bay Company have been able to trace closely linked 10-year cycles of growth and decline in populations of the two species over the past 200 years.”

    Then, a chart shows peaks every 10 years from 1845 to 1935 (the span of the fur trading records). If the peaks are continuing to follow the same cycle, it would seem logical that the peak was around 2005, would bottom in 2010 and peak again in 2015.

    However, scanning through some journal articles, it seems that the answer is more complicated.

    For a more scientific and modern explanation, several of Dr. Stanley A. Boutin’s (University of Alberta) journal publications deal with the subject matter of the Canadian Lynx population. See here:

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