September 22, 2023

Canada Lynx Tracks Found in Jefferson, New Hampshire

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Determined to be just passing through by professional trackers, the tracks made by a Canada Lynx were found in Jefferson, New Hampshire near the U.S. Route 2 and State Route 115 area. There are no known cases of the animal living in New Hampshire. The closest to this state where lynx are known to live, is in Maine.

A group of professional trackers from the New Hampshire Audubon Society, are working in the Jefferson area doing a study about wildlife crossing the highways of U.S. Route 2 and State Route 115. In this area, there have been numerous wildlife kills on the highways. This group, funded by the Merck Family Foundation, but additional funding from the state Department of Transportation and the Fish and Game Departments, is hoped for, to keep the project alive.

A press release from the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department says that Mark Ellbroch, lead tracker for the project and Rose Graves, project assistant, say the animal crossed U.S. Highway 2 on January 26, 2006, heading north.

The trackers spotted the cat’s tracks in fresh snow the following morning, and followed the trail leading to and from the road. “Based on the characteristics of the trail, I’d say this lynx was probably just passing  through the area,” said Elbroch, who has tracked professionally for many years.

Michael Amaral, from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said the closest known breeding grounds of the lynx is in Maine. Some radio controlled collars on lynx have been tracked that traveled more than 200 miles. So it is quite possible that the lynx may migrate into New Hampshire once again in small numbers. There are reports of sightings in New Hampshire that have been investigated but not confirmed.

Amaral goes on to describe the habitat and physical characteristics of the Canada lynx.

Amaral describes prime lynx habitat as being primarily forested landscape with a diversity of (tree) age classes. “Lynx require snowshoe hare, so habitat like beaver flowages with shrubby edges that support snowshoe populations are key to their survival. The most important habitat factor is regenerating forest –whether it’s been harvested or naturally set back by fire, insect outbreaks, or gaps created by old trees falling.” New Hampshire still has substantial habitat fitting this description; so, although the entire state is at the southern end of the Canada lynx’s natural range, it’s not impossible that they could once again  become established here in small numbers.

At about 3 feet long and 15-30 pounds, Canada lynx are at least twice the size of the average house cat. They have long, strong legs; short tails; prominent ear tufts; and long sideburn-style hair on the sides of
their face. Lynx are often recognized by their huge, furry paws, which help them travel over deep snow.

Canada Lynx

If you would like to read the entire press release, you can by clicking here.

Tom Remington