Artist notes Abundance for Lynx


With the peak Snowshoe Hare population natural predators such as the medium sized wild cat Lynx, are on the increase. We knew from the condition of the bark stripped willow and alder around the Murie cabin and observing 10-15 Snowshoe Hare take cover every time we appeared, the possibility of seeing a Lynx was excellent. After three bus loads of tourists departed their picnic below our cabin, I walked back down to my log bench on the bank of the East Fork River to sketch, and observe the landscape.

Rounding the bend I caught sight of a small grey animal trotting up the hill toward the park road. Hastily zipping open the camera bag strapped to my waist I was relieved to see the telephoto was attached, clumsily I removed the lens cover and switched the button to “on” located on the back of the camera. By the time I focused the lens the Lynx was nearly out of sight. This terrible shot is my first photo of a Lynx! I ran toward the curve in the road where the cat disappeared, camera banging against my chest, bag flopping open around my waist, panting and awkward, feeling my age and thinking I looked like an idiot. Weird things run through your mind in a panic, I remember being thankful that the bus loads of tourists were gone. Rounding the bend I saw nothing but empty road, and visually searching the bare brush showed nothing. Truth is, this well camouflaged feline could have been standing right next to me motionless in the bushes and I wouldn’t have seen him.

Later I surveyed the picnic area and found all sorts of scraps of food on the ground, not only was hunting good for the Lynx with the abundance of Snowshoe Hare, but free crumbs were available after every tour bus lunch stop. I found this to be an interesting dichotomy. All green bus riders (including us) are carefully instructed in “leave no trace” handling of food and disposing of liquids. Nothing on the ground.

Gail Niebrugge, Denali Artist-in-Residence

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  1. What an exciting sighting! Looks like a young one.

  2. I’m sure there were many in the area, the Snowshoe Hare population was quite high.

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