• A bull elk bugles in Yellowstone National Park

    Yellowstone

    National Park ID,MT,WY

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Lynx

A lynx stands profile among vegetation.
NPS/Restivo
 
Although historical records suggest that Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) have been present in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem since at least 1893, recent surveys indicate the species is now rare and spotty in distribution. In 2000, the US Fish and Wildlife Service listed the lynx as "threatened" in the lower 48 states. Much of the park and surrounding area is considered much of the critical habitat for the species in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Habitat

Lynx habitat in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is often fragmented and generally limited to conifer forests above 7,700 feet where the distribution of its primary prey, snowshoe hare, is patchy and often insufficient to support lynx residency and reproduction.The lower quality habitat means home ranges in this ecosystem are larger than those farther north, with lynx traveling long distances between foraging sites.

Quick Facts about Lynx in Yellowstone

  • Very rarely seen.
  • 16–35 pounds, 26–33 inches long.
  • Gray brown fur with white, buff, brown on throat and ruff; tufted ears; short tail; hind legs longer than front.
  • Distinguish from bobcat: black rings on tail are complete; tail tip solid black; longer ear tufts; larger track.
  • Wide paws with fur in and around pads; allows lynx to run across snow.
  • Track: 4–5 inches.
  • Solitary, diurnal and nocturnal.
  • Eats primarily snowshoe hares, especially in winter; also rodents, rabbits, birds, red squirrels, and other small mammals, particularly in summer.
Additional Resources


References

Did You Know?

Fire in Yellowstone Pineland in 1988

The 1988 fires affected 793,880 acres or 36 percent of the park. Five fires burned into the park that year from adjacent public lands. The largest, the North Fork Fire, started from a discarded cigarette. It burned more than 410,000 acres.