Researchers track Canada lynx in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom

April 2, 2013

Media Contacts:
Chris Bernier, 802-885-8833;
Kim Royer 802-583-7173

Canada lynx are appearing in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom according to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. Although only four confirmed sightings occurred in the state from the late 1700s to the early 2000s, lynx sightings have been on the increase every year since 2003. The department is conducting surveys to determine the full extent and distribution of lynx in Vermont.

A large, carnivorous feline species, Canada lynx are rarely seen because they are nocturnal and secretive. They are similar to bobcats in appearance, but lynx have larger bodies and longer ear tufts than bobcats. The easiest way to distinguish a lynx from a bobcat is by the lynx’s solid black-tipped tail and enormous, furry paws.

According to Chris Bernier, biologist for Vermont Fish & Wildlife and the lynx survey leader, most confirmed lynx sightings have been on publicly owned lands in the Nulhegan Basin at Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge. “Lynx require specific habitat to thrive,” said Bernier. “These large, unbroken tracts of mixed-conifer forest are perfect for this species and their primary prey, the snowshoe hare. We were all very excited when lynx sightings started popping up again in Vermont.”

Lynx are listed as ‘threatened’ under the Federal Endangered Species Act and as ‘endangered’ under Vermont’s Endangered Species Law. State and federal biologists elsewhere in the country have worked to stop the loss of quality lynx habitat that was driving local population declines, so Vermont’s biologists were encouraged to see lynx recolonize the state naturally. “It speaks to the success of our habitat conservation efforts in the state,” said Bernier.

The surveys are being conducted in partnership with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and include the help of volunteers including members of the Vermont Trappers Association. “The support and participation of Vermont’s trappers have been invaluable in this effort,” said Bernier. “They are our eyes and ears on the landscape. We’re working with the Vermont Trappers Association to identify appropriate conservation measures for this species in the state.”

Bernier believes the Nulhegan Basin lynx have formed a reproducing, resident population that likely dispersed from Maine following a boom in the lynx population in that state. His team has also conducted surveys in similar habitat in nearby Victory Basin Wildlife Management Area but has not detected lynx there.

Fish & Wildlife Department Deputy Commissioner Kim Royar, who previously led the furbearer project, says that the department is also partnering with New Hampshire Fish & Game, in addition to wildlife agencies in Ontario and Quebec. “We view lynx conservation as a regional effort,” she said. “To move freely, wide-ranging species such as lynx require the conservation of large blocks of forested habitat connected by travel corridors. They range across several states and provinces, transcending political boundaries.”

Press Release

Comment Policy requires that all commenters identify themselves by their authentic first and last names. Initials, pseudonyms or screen names are not permissible.

No personal harrassment, abuse, or hate speech is permitted. Be succinct and to the point. Comments should be 1000 characters or fewer. If your comment is over 500 words, consider sending a commentary instead.

We personally review and moderate every comment that is posted here. This takes a lot of time; please consider donating to keep the conversation productive and informative.

The purpose of this policy is to encourage a civil discourse among readers who are willing to stand behind their identities and their comments. VTDigger has created a safe zone for readers who wish to engage in a thoughtful discussion on a range of subjects. We hope you join the conversation. If you have questions or concerns about our commenting platform, please review our Commenting FAQ.

Privacy policy
  • Robert Pear

    I heard what I believe to be a lynx in woodstock village on Aug 23, 2013. I recorded it if anyone is interested.

  • Christin Gardner

    Hi there I live out in shoreham vt. We believe we just spied 2 lynx or bobcat walking my rock wall. They were tan black tipped ears black tipped bob tail. Real young ins.

Thanks for reporting an error with the story, "Researchers track Canada lynx in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom"