In this report we summarize accomplishments of the Canada Lynx Ecology in the Great
Lakes Region project. We carried out initial work in the Superior National Forest to address 4
major questions about this Canada lynx population: distribution, abundance, persistence, and
habitat requirements. In the first 8 months of this project we have captured and deployed
radiotelemetry collars on 8 Canada lynx. Each animal was relocated approximately weekly after
being collared. Of the 8 Canada lynx that have been collared, 2 have died.
Two of the collars deployed on Canada lynx were GPS collars. This marked the first
time ever that a GPS collar was deployed on Canada lynx. We downloaded the locations from
one of these GPS collars when one of the collared animals was recaptured on December 30th,
2003 after wearing the GPS collar for 3 weeks. The importance of GPS collar data for
understanding movements and habitat use of Canada lynx should not be underestimated.
In addition to the telemetry research, we have also conducted the first year of surveys for
the major prey species of Canada lynx: snowshoe hare and red squirrel. Permanent pellet plots
were established throughout the SNF for snowshoe hare. Plots were distributed based on
stratified random, systematic, and selective site selection strategies. We established new plots to
estimate red squirrel abundance in an area of known high lynx density, and also utilized an
existing long-term data set for red squirrel abundance from SNF. Another year of surveys
following the National Lynx Survey protocol was completed, and a snow-track survey for Canada
lynx and other mesocarnivores was completed on the National Lynx Survey grid.
There were also many opportunities to disseminate information on Canada lynx to the
biological community and to the general public. More than 10 presentations on lynx biology were
given by project personnel. Project personnel assisted in planning, helped with field trips, and
gave presentations at the National Lynx and Wolverine Steering Committee Meeting in May
2003 and the Interagency Lynx Biology Team Meeting in October 2003, both of which were
hosted by SNF. We have developed a website for the Canada Lynx Ecology in the Great Lakes
Region project (www.nrri.umn.edu/lynx). This website provides a history of the project, lists
project goals and accomplishments, and includes links to press coverage of the project.
We begin the report with a brief chronological summary of the Canada lynx ecology in
the Great Lakes Region project. The project was supported by several agencies with some
common deliverables and some deliverables that varied among agencies. To produce a cohesive,
logically organized Annual Report, we describe the project in its entirety, and we indicate specific
deliverables in Appendix 1. We first describe Canada lynx trapping and the deployment of
radiotelemetry collars. The radiotelemetry program is very important because each of the major
deliverables depends on telemetry data. Next, we address progress made on each of the major
questions: (1) Location, (2) Distribution, (3) Persistence, and (4) Habitat use. Prey species
surveys and National Lynx Survey results are also summarized.
We conclude each section with the current status and future plans for each research topic.
We believe it is important to recognize that the project is only 8 months old. A complete answer
for any of the questions will require the several years of data collection which is built into the
project master plan. We caution that results presented in this report are preliminary because of
the few animals that have been collared, and because of the relatively few locations that have
been obtained. Management recommendations should not be made from the little information that
has been obtained to date. However, with the number of Canada lynx now radiocollared, and
with expectations of more in the near future, there will be sufficient data for management
recommendations by the end of the second year of this project.
Moen, Ronald; Niemi, Gerald J; Burdett, Christopher L.; Mech, L. David.
Canada Lynx in the Great Lakes Region: Annual Report to USDA Forest Service and MN Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.
University of Minnesota Duluth.
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