The Queens Zoo has three new additions to their Canada lynx exhibit that officially made their public debut.
Three lynx cubs — one male and two female — were born in May while the zoo was closed during COVID-19. During that time, they bonded with their mother and are now mature enough to begin exploring their exhibit.
Canada lynx are medium-sized cats with a thick grayish-brown coat and short tail, and are easily identified by the pointed tufts of fur on their ears and cheeks. Their oversized paws act as snowshoes to prevent them from sinking in deep snow during the harsh winters of their native range, which spans Alaska, Canada and portions of the northern and western continental United States.
“Lynx cubs are really fun to watch at this age. Their characteristically large paws look enormous in comparison to their size,” said Mike Allen, Queens Zoo director. “Their playful stalking and pouncing is how they learn to hunt in the wild. Our guests will enjoy watching their development and the opportunity to observe these behaviors as the cubs mature.”
The three cubs were born as a breeding recommendation from the Canada Lynx Species Survival Plan (SSP), a cooperative breeding program designed to enhance the genetic viability of animal populations in zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Canada lynx populations are healthy in some portions of their range, and the species is classified as Least Concern by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In the United States, where their numbers have declined due to fur trapping and habitat destruction, they are protected under the Endangered Species Act.
The Queens Zoo, along with the other four Wildlife Conservation Society parks in New York City (Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, and New York Aquarium), officially reopened to the public in accordance with New York State COVID-19 safety guidelines. All guests over 3 years old are required to wear a face covering or mask.