Orphaned baby lynx settling in at Bowmanville Zoo

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BOWMANVILLE — An orphaned baby lynx will become part of the family at the Bowmanville Zoo after it determined she was just too domesticated to survive in the wild.

Milah was born in the wild but her mother was shot when she was just two weeks old. She was rescued and bottle fed by humans. The lynx cub was sent to the Western Veterinary College in Saskatchewan as a rehabilitation project. The staff had to decide wether Milah could be taught to survive on her own and re-released.

“Because her mother was killed and she was hand-raised, she’s bonded too much with humans,” said zoo owner Michael Hackenberger.

So instead of being released into the wild, Milah was sent to the Bowmanville Zoo. It’s the first lynx the zoo has had in quite a while, said zookeeper Jaclyn Suddard. So far, the five-month-old cub seems to be liking her new home and the people and she’s getting used to the other animals.

“She’s living with a house cat as of yesterday and getting along very well,” said Ms. Suddard. “She wasn’t timid of people, she was a little afraid of dogs and cats.”

Mr. Hackenberger said that timid disposition and affection for humans was part of the reason Milah couldn’t be released into the wild.

“She’s sweet and to be a successful predator you have to be a little ruthless,” he said.â?¨ Twice a day, zoo staff feed Milah three-and-a-half pounds of supplemented beef.

The Bowmanville Zoo was chosen by the Western Veterinary College as Milah’s new home because she will become part of the zoo’s educational program for kids.

The Canadian lynx have large webbed feet, which help them to travel over snow. They can only run fast over short distances, so they stalk or ambush their prey at close range. The lynx tends to be secretive and it’s rare that even experienced hunters see one in the wild. The lynx population has dramatic fluctuations following snowshoe hare populations.

“It really outlines the predator-prey relationship,” said Mr. Hackenberger. “It’s a great educational opportunity.”


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