Lynx spotted just north of downtown

An Edmonton man is counting himself lucky after catching not one – but two – glimpses of a rarely-seen wild feline.

Known for being incredibly shy, spotting a lynx in the city is a very rare event

Parks Canada Conservation officer Alex Taylor caught this rare glimpse of a lynx near Lake Lousie in March. (Alex Taylor/Parks Canada)

An Edmonton man is counting himself lucky after catching not one – but two – glimpses of a rarely-seen wild feline.

Paul Gregg caught sight of a lynx  – but not out in the wild. Instead, he first caught a glimpse of the creature coming out of an alley near his home in Edmonton’s Sherbrooke neighbourhood early Sunday morning.

He then saw the cat again later in the day while investigating the cause of a magpie racket next to his neighbour’s property.

"I walked up to a hedge at the end of [my neighbour’s property] and I was within two feet of the hedge and recognized something was in there," he said. "I thought it was an ordinary cat... but then he bolted and it was definitely the lynx again."

"I had a farm for 26 years, I worked in the bush all the time... and in 40 years I’ve seen two lynx in the wild that I can remember," he said. "They’re so shy of people. And then I see one in my neighbourhood – two times in the same day. It was amazing!"

Gregg's neighbour reported the sightings to Fish and Wildlife, and an officer was sent to try to track the animal – to no avail.

However, wildlife officers were able to confirm a lynx was in the area following another report of a sighting Monday at the municipal airport grounds. Someone managed to snap a picture of the cat.

"It is rather uncommon for a lynx to be in the city," said Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Brendan Cox. "They usually prefer forested areas – especially in the foothills and mountains.

But Cox said there are a lot of rabbits and hares in the city, and that's the main prey for lynx.

"Generally, they’re a very shy creature," Cox added. "They’re very wary of humans. It’s rare for them to be spotted, let alone make contact with a person."

Wildlife officials are warning people not to approach a lynx if they see one, and to keep pets indoors when they cannot be supervised. They are encouraging anyone who sees the usually difficult-to-spot creature to call Fish and Wildlife.

But Gregg suggests anyone lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the lynx to savour the moment.

"People very rarely get the opportunity to see them... there’s really no threat to anybody here," he said. "If you see one, just give it lots of room and back off and watch it."