A lynx spotted roaming the Brocklehurst area will be in the care of the BC Wildlife Park for the next two weeks after being captured by conservation officers.
It’s the second in about three months that a member of the reclusive species has been caught after being spotted uncharacteristically roaming the North Shore.
The Conservation Office Service (COS) said it tranquilized the adult female lynx on Schubert Drive on Jan. 13 and transferred it to the park’s rehabilitation centre.
“I would say [it’s] pretty rare. We might get one lynx in a year, so to have two in a shorter period — and for them to both be found in a town — is quite unusual,” BC Wildlife Park animal care manager Tracy Reynolds told KTW.
The cat was found to be emaciated, but had no visible injuries and its teeth were in good condition, according to the COS.
Reynolds said the cat is healthy, aside from needing some food, and the plan is to keep it at the park and feed it until it is strong enough to be released back into the wild.
“We just want to get a little bit of fat on her,” Reynolds said.
Social media posts pegged the feline along Schubert Drive and Nelson Avenue on Jan. 12, as well as around The Dunes at Kamloops Golf Course in Westsyde before then.
While it’s unclear if there was more than one lynx, the COS believes the cat it captured to be the one spotted in Brocklehurst, given the lack of sightings being reported from that neighbourhood since.
Last October, a male lynx, which was also fairly thin and had a stomach infection, was captured by the COS around Willow Street in North Kamloops and sent to the wildlife park until it was healthy enough to be released into the wild.
Reynolds said she suspects both of these cats wandered into town to look for food or possibly due to habitat loss.
While it’s rare to see so much lynx activity in town — as the animals don’t frequent urban areas and shy away from humans — there is a naturally occurring low in the number of rabbits and upland game birds in the wilderness around Kamloops this year, which may mean natural food sources are harder to come by for the lynx, according to the COS.
The COS said a “substantial increase in urban poultry in Kamloops and chickens” and “free-roaming house cats” could also be drawing lynx to town.
“We can expect that these wild animals, whether they are lynx, bobcats, coyotes or bears, venture into town regularly, but the only reason they stay is because they are successful in finding a food source,” the COS said in a statement.
Lynx do not pose a risk to public safety, but they are a risk to small pets and poultry, making it important for people to keep their pets indoors and chicken coops secured for their safety and to protect their predators from becoming habituated to human raised food sources.
The wildlife park will contact the COS when the lynx is ready to be relocated and the service will then determine where to release the animal.