) is any of
four big-sized wild cats
. All are members of
the genus Lynx
, but there is
considerable confusion about the best way to classify felids at
present, and some authorities classify them as part of the genus
. The Caracal
, despite sometimes being called Persian lynx
or African lynx, does not belong to this genus.
Lynx have short tails and characteristic tufts of black hair on the
tip of their ears. They have a ruff under the neck, which has black
bars (not very visible), resembling a bow tie. They have large
padded paws for walking on snow, and long whiskers on the face. The
body color varies from medium brown to gold-ish to beige-white; and
occasionally, is marked with dark brown spots, especially on the
limbs. All species of lynx also have white fur on their chests,
bellies and on the insides of their legs, which are extensions of
the chest and belly fur. Also, the lynx's coloring, fur height and
paw size varies by its climate range — in the Southwestern United States
fur and color are short-haired, dark and the paws are smaller and
less padded; as the lynx ranges to its colder northern climes, the
fur gets progressively thicker (for warmth), the color gets lighter
(for camouflage) and its paws enlarge and become more padded for
snowy environments. Their paws may become larger than a human
They have extremely good hearing and they also have 28 teeth,
which, when paired with the jaw structure, stab deeply into their
prey. This can be especially helpful to the lynx because they are
not the most efficient hunters and they lose most of their prey to
a variety of factors.
The smallest species are the Bobcat and the Canada Lynx, with
average weights , while the largest is the Eurasian Lynx, with
average weight , up to a reported maximum of , but there is
considerable variation within species.
Lynxes are usually solitary, although small groups of lynx may
travel and hunt together occasionally. Mating takes place in the
late winter and they give birth to two to six kittens once a year.
The gestation time of lynx is about 70 days. The young stay with
the mother for one more winter, a total of around nine months,
before they move out to live on their own as young adults. Lynx
will create their dens in crevices or under ledges. They feed on a
wide range of animals from white-tailed deer
, roe deer
, and chamois
, to smaller, more usual prey: snowshoe hares
, and goats
. They also
eat ptarmigan, voles, grouse and fish.
Lynx inhabit the high altitude forests with dense cover of shrubs,
reeds, and grass. Although the cats hunt on the ground, they can
climb trees and can swim swiftly, catching fish.
Europe and Asia
The Eurasian Lynx
The Eurasian lynx
ranges from central
and northern Europe
. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the
Eurasian lynx was considered extinct in the wild in Slovenia and Croatia.
resettlement project, begun in 1973, has successfully reintroduced
lynx to the Slovenian Alps and the Croatian regions of Gorski Kotar
and Velebit, including Croatia's Plitvice Lakes
National Park and Risnjak National Park.
In both countries, the lynx is listed as an
endangered species and protected by law. Lynx-spotting can be
arranged in cooperation with the Risnjak National Park.
lynx resettlement projects begun in the 1970s have been successful
in various regions of Switzerland. Since the 1990s, there have been numerous
efforts to resettle the Eurasian lynx in Germany.
found in the Białowieża Forest in northeastern Poland , in
Estonia and in the northern west parts of China in the
tibetian mt. range. In Romania the numbers
exceed 2,000, the largest population in Europe outside of Russia, although
most experts consider the official population numbers to be
overestimated. Lynx are more common in northern Europe,
especially in Sweden, Estonia, Finland, and the
northern parts of Russia.
swedish population is estimated to be 1200 - 1500 individuals,
spread all over the country but more common in middle Sweden and in
the mountain range.Lynxes in Britain were wiped
out in the 17th Century but there is a
plan to reintroduce them to curb the numbers of deer.The critically endangered Iberian lynx lives in southern Spain and formerly
in eastern Portugal.
There is a lynx reprodution centre planned
in the Algarve
in southern Portugal.
Canadian lynx is common throughout the
boreal forests of Canada and Alaska, and is
particularly abundant throughout its northern range when snowshoe hare numbers are high.
lynx have been observed as recently as 2006 in the Wet Mountains of Colorado. In recent years, a few lynx sightings were
reported in the southern Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina, specifically in the area from Mount Mitchell
across to the Shope Creek Forest area in the Pisgah
National Forest.lynx are also found in the northern
appalachians. One lynx was even caught alive in a cage
trap at Graystone Cabins near Barnardsville, North Carolina; the animal was later released into a wilderness area within Madison
County, North Carolina.
Although the USFWS
still deny the presence of lynx in the southern Appalachians, the
most recent sighting was reported in September 2007 in the Shope
Creek Forest. USFWS officials have stated that if these sightings
were actually lynx, they were most likely illegally-held pets,
which had been released or had escaped.
throughout most of North
The four species of the Lynx
genus are believed to have
evolved from the "Issoire lynx
is believed to have been the original lynx during the Pliocene
The hunting of lynx is illegal in many countries. The Iberian lynx
is almost extinct
and the killing of any
individuals has been outlawed since the 1970s in Spain and
Portugal. In 2000, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service designated
the Canadian Lynx a Threatened species
lower 48 states.
is considered a national
animal in the Republic of Macedonia and is displayed on the reverse of the Macedonian 5
denar coin. It is also the
national animal of Romania.
In popular culture
The lynx was chosen to be the mascot for Ubuntu's
next major release,
. The popular Linux
has been dubbed the Lucid Lynx and will be an LTS
(long-term support) version. On the chosen name, Mark Shuttleworth
says: "The lynx is a
- Wildcat, a small predator native to
Europe, the western part of Asia, and Africa
- Kathimerini "The lynx is one of the most
endangered wild species and is considered as a national symbol of
- National Bank of Macedonia - Coins in