New Brunswick

Possible Canada lynx kittens discovered near Fredericton

Two young kittens that may be endangered Canada lynx were discovered recently at a logging operation on Crown land south of Fredericton.

Logging crew on Crown land disturbs den of what may be Canada lynx or bobcat

Pam Novak of the Atlantic Wildlife Institute said the Canada lynx or bobcat kittens sent to the institute by Natural Resources barely have their eyes open. (Atlantic Wildlife Institute)

Two young kittens that may be endangered Canada lynx were discovered recently at a logging operation on Crown land south of Fredericton.

The female kittens were turned over to the Department of Natural Resources, which in turn sent them to the Atlantic Wildlife Institute near Sackville.

"It looks like their eyes have just opened quite recently," said Pam Novak of the institute.

"These are pretty young kittens."

Two kittens found by a logging crew near Fredericton may be Canada lynx. They are so young they can't walk yet. (Atlantic Wildlife Institute)
Novak said the logging crew was pushing some brush to the side of the area being cut when they heard some sounds coming from the brush.

"They thought at first it was birds. When they got out to look they found these little guys screaming," she said.

The kittens were left in the area for almost two days in the hope the mother cat would come back to retrieve them, but she never did.

The den had been disturbed and the kittens were too young to leave the den on their own.

"They can't even walk, this is how tiny they are," said Novak.

The two wild cats found in New Brunswick are the bobcat and the Canada lynx, which is an endangered species in the region.

Because the kittens are so young and their markings may change, it is not known if the kittens are lynx or bobcat.

"What's interesting in this scenario is they have really the markings of Canada lynx," said Novak.

Two kittens were found outside Fredericton, and they're so young experts aren't sure whether they are bobcats or endangered lynx. 9:18
"When we were getting them in here we were anticipating they'd be bobcat because of where they were found. This is not lynx breeding area, especially so close to Fredericton."

The Department of Natural Resources's website states the population size and trends for the lynx population in New Brunswick is "poorly understood."

The province says lynx may be present throughout the province, but is more common in the northern part of the province as New Brunswick is near the southern limit of its distribution.

Novak said the breeding area for lynx usually begins about 100 kilometres north of Fredericton.

On April 16, a mature male lynx was spotted in downtown Fredericton and captured by the Department of Natural Resources. It was later released back into the wild.

"It's definitely possible," said Novak.

"It's just so odd that they would be in this area."

With files from Shift