Trunkline Magazine (Louisville Zoo) Trunkline Magazine: September 2016 | Page 23


Lynx : The Ghosts of the North

Do you believe in ghosts ?
The Louisville Zoo has a couple of ghosts on exhibit in the Cats of the Americas area — Canada lynx sisters Matilda and Sage . Canada lynx are sometimes called “ the gray ghosts of the north ” because they are elusive , avoiding contact with humans . Although they really aren ’ t ghostly or spooky , they might see you before you see them , as they expertly blend in with their surroundings .
Matilda and Sage were born at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in 2014 . They came to the Louisville Zoo in January of 2016 . Lynx are small cats , weighing about 20 pounds or about twice as large as the average house cat . “ Lynx are big cats in little bodies , ” said Louisville Zoo Keeper Sam Clites . “ They have strong personalities . I love how tough they are .” Lynx have long , black ear tufts , a short , black-tipped tail and large feet . Their furry paws help them to walk on the snow in some of the northern United States ,
Alaska and Canada . Lynx mostly hunt snowshoe hares but will also eat grouse , squirrels and other small rodents . Here at the Zoo , lynx eat meat specially formulated for cats as well as quail .
In nature , lynx prefer to live among trees to keep hidden , but their population ’ s survival is at risk because of habitat destruction . When mature forests are cut down , the lynx loses habitat needed for denning and raising their babies . The lynx population is classified as “ threatened .” That means they are at risk , but not yet endangered . The good news is lynx are still protected under the Endangered Species Act . Organizations are working hard to help the lynx population by redirecting loggers away from areas that are extremely important to lynx survival and connecting fragmented habitats to help give the lynx larger areas to roam .
With cooler temperatures arriving , autumn is a great time to get outdoors and explore ! Make sure to respect nearby habitats by simply observing wildlife while leaving plants and animals where they belong . Never leave behind any trash , even if it wasn ’ t yours ! Go ahead and pick it up to throw away or recycle later . These simple actions help ensure native wildlife and their natural habitats will be there for you and others to enjoy during this colorful season .
Louisville Zoo Trunkline • Fall 2016 • 23