With a casual glance or two back, a Canada lynx left its holding carrier in under a minute Friday and trotted off over the snow into a stand of pine trees in central Schoolcraft County.
The lynx had been brought north to be released in a cooperative venture by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Detroit Zoological Society.
“It went perfectly,” said John DePue, a DNR wildlife biologist who supervised the release of the cat. “She didn’t dart out of the carrier like some other animals would have, but that’s pretty typical lynx behavior.”
See a video of the release.
The lynx – an animal only rarely seen in Michigan – had been making headlines since it was discovered about a month earlier on a farm in Sanilac County.
The DNR received a report on March 16 of a possible lynx preying on a farmer’s domestic geese. The lynx was described as easily approachable and wasn’t spooked by the farmer’s presence.
From photos provided, DNR staffers verified it was indeed a Canada lynx.
Because the animal had been behaving oddly – including being easily approachable –the DNR, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, worked with a local trapper to capture the lynx to evaluate its health.
“Canada lynx are listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act,” said Dan Kennedy, endangered species coordinator with the DNR. “The DNR has the authority to handle federally threatened species through an agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”
The lynx was held at the Howell Nature Center wildlife rehabilitation facility in Livingston County until she was able to be transferred to the Detroit Zoological Society for a health assessment.
The female cat,