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Eye On Boise

Tue., Jan. 31, 2012, 3:07 p.m.

Rare Canada lynx sighted in Salmon-Challis area

Idaho Fish & Game is reporting a rare Canada lynx sighting in the Salmon-Challis National Forest, the first direct evidence of lynx presence there since 1991. “This would be an extremely rare event, and we’re waiting to get genetic test results before we confirm it’s a native, wild lynx,” said Fish & Game wildlife manager Tom Keegan. Canada lynx are listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act, and they are designated an Idaho “species of greatest conservation need.” Fewer than 40 have been reported in the Salmon-Challis region since 1896. Click below for the full Fish & Game news release.

Canada Lynx Sighted on Salmon-Challis National Forest

Idaho Fish and Game biologists confirmed a recent sighting of a Canada lynx on the Salmon-Challis National Forest.

The sighting is the first direct evidence of lynx presence on the forest since 1991.  Idaho Fish and Game collected hair and scat samples from the animal to determine its origin.

“This would be an extremely rare event, and we’re waiting to get genetic test results before we confirm it’s a native, wild lynx,” Fish and Game wildlife manager Tom Keegan said.

A local recreationist reported the animal to Fish and Game after seeing it in a legally set foot-hold trap targeting bobcat. Fish and Game officials arrived at the scene within the hour and assessed the lynx for injuries and potential treatment. With no injuries indicated, officials released the lynx from the trap.

“We watched it wander off in good shape,” conservation office Dane Cook said. “It had all the classic lynx features:  long legs, huge furry paws, ear tufts, and the short black-tipped tail.”

Preferred lynx habitat is young, regenerating forests that support its primary prey, snowshoe hares.

“This lynx keyed into an area with a healthy population of snowshoe hares,” Fish and Game wildlife biologist Beth Waterbury said.

Canada lynx are listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act, and they are designated an Idaho “species of greatest conservation need.” Fewer than 40 lynx records are known for the Salmon-Challis region, dating from 1896 trapping logs to an observation of lynx tracks reported in 2010. The last verified record of a lynx in east-central Idaho was an incidentally trapped animal from the Pahsimeroi Valley in 1991.

Fish and Game reminds hunters and trappers to be aware that lynx may be in the area and to be certain of their targets. Trapping methods to avoid lynx, and lynx and bobcat identification pages are found on pages 43 and 44 of the 2011-2012 Upland Game, Furbearer, Turkey Seasons and Rules book or on the Fish and Game website at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/docs/rules/uplandRules.pdf.

Fish and Game commends the recreationist who noted something unusual and did the right thing by notifying Fish and Game without disturbing a legal trap. Report lynx sightings to the nearest Fish and Game office.

 

 

IDFG

01-31-12

 

 

 




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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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