Small dog nearly loses its life to hungry lynx in Whitehorse
With their traditional food supply dwindling, lynx are being spotted more often in town
A pet owner in Whitehorse is warning residents to watch over their dogs and cats when letting them out.
Kumie Shorty's small one-year-old dog, Joy, was recently attacked by a lynx in broad daylight in the McIntyre subdivision area of the city.
"So a conservation officer happened to be driving by the time that it happened and he pulled the lynx off of her, shot the lynx and [my dog] ran home, and her ear was torn off and she got bit all over the back of the neck... it was brutal," said Shorty.
It happened last Saturday afternoon after Shorty had just let the dog out.
"If the conservation officer hadn't been driving by, [Joy] definitely would have been killed by the lynx, for sure," Shorty said.
Officials with Yukon's Department of Environment say it is rare to spot a lynx in a residential area but this year is different.
Department spokesperson Diana Dryburgh-Moraal says lynx typically feed on snowshoe hares but the hare population is collapsing.
"Most likely what's happening is because the lynx population is closely linked to the hare population, and the hare population is currently at a low point, there are not enough snowshoe hares on the land to support the current lynx population," she said.
She says when snowshoe hare numbers are low, lynx may roam hundreds of kilometres away from their home ranges.
She says people have lately reported sightings of lynx in most subdivisions in the Whitehorse area.
Shorty says after getting his dog to the vet after the attack, Joy is recovering.
This is the second recent report of a lynx trying to take down a dog.
Earlier this year, a woman had to jump on a lynx to rescue her dog in Beaver Creek, Yukon. While she saved her dog, community members later killed the lynx.