Laid-back lynx a surprise visitor to Alberta legislature grounds

Some people making their way into downtown Edmonton this morning were greeted by an unusual sight near the Alberta legislature grounds.

Animal appeared docile and wasn't bothering anyone

Alberta Sheriffs set up a perimeter around an area at the Alberta legislature grounds on Monday, Aug. 19, 2019, where a lynx was spotted. It later left towards the river valley. (Submitted by Warren Posch)

Some people making their way into downtown Edmonton Monday morning were greeted by an unusual sight near the Alberta legislature grounds. 

Sitting quietly tucked in against a spruce tree, just metres away from a busy sidewalk, was a lynx.

A passerby, alarmed by seeing the large cat, notified nearby authorities working at the legislature. 

Alberta Sheriffs Sgt. Warren Posch, along with a few other officers, made their way to the location to look for themselves. 

"There was a large cat under a spruce tree just off 107th Street and we took a walk down there and it was indeed a lynx," Posch said.

Lacking experience dealing with four-legged predators, Posch contacted Alberta Fish and Wildlife officers for help.

Posch said the lynx appeared "docile" and wasn't bothering anyone. Officers decided to set up a perimeter around the area where the animal was sitting.

Alberta Sheriffs Sgt. Warren Posch said it was the first time he had seen a lynx in Edmonton. (Kim Trynacity/CBC)

"It was very close to a sidewalk and we didn't want anyone coming up the sidewalk and spooking the animal," he said.

"So we kind of blocked off the sidewalks."

Back to the valley

It is believed the animal veered into unfamiliar territory while it was chasing rabbits or another food source, Posch said. 

Exhibiting no threatening behaviour, the animal was shooed away from the sidewalk and toward the river valley. 

"It was actually a really, really neat experience," Posch said. 

"I've never seen a lynx before in person and was neat to see the wildlife. You don't expect that here downtown."

As for how this ranks compared to other incidents he's run across in the line of duty, Posch said the danger level was "pretty low".

According to the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute, the lynx is considered to be a medium-sized cat that prefers to live in forested areas where there is an abundance of hares.