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Populations of lynx on the rise in Anchorage

Posted: Sunday, January 04, 2009

ANCHORAGE - Anchorage is experiencing growing populations of lynx, as well as fox, throughout the city.

State biologists, however, say the growth is part of the wildlife cycle boosting lynx numbers in North America.

There have been multiple sightings of both lynx and fox around town.

Rodney and Terri Powell say they've recently seen as many as four lynx in their yard at a time.

"They hide on the other side of the snow berm and wait for the birds to land right on this side and they jump on them," Rodney Powell said. "She feeds the birds on this side and the lynx will sit on other side and try to catch them."

The couple has lived in Bear Valley for 20 years and Rodney Powell said he sees three times as many lynx and twice as many fox than in the past.

Howard Golden, a biologist with the state Department of Fish and Game, said it's common for lynx to end up in the peaks and valleys around the city.

"The population last peaked in the winter of 2001 in this area, so it should be coming up to a peak again in the next year or two," Golden said.

With an eight to 10 year cycle, more lynx are being seen across North America.

In some cases, the population peaks are 30 to 40 times greater than the low periods.

"What's driving all that is that lynx are pretty much a specialist in hunting snowshoe hares, so when the snowshoe hare population increases lynx populations start to increase," he said. "Snowshoe hare populations tend to peak a year ahead of lynx populations so what happens is you have this big buildup of lynx that are feeding on snowshoe hares."

Foxes also tend to be fond of small rodent populations.



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