Despite her razor-sharp claws and fearsome teeth, the Biodôme’s female lynx is as gentle as can be when it comes to her three little ones, born on June 4, 2013. The experience she gained with her first full-term kitten last year has made her an attentive mother to her new litter.
The story of the litter of 2013
In the summer of 2012, our female lynx gave birth to three babies, but only one survived. In line with the recommendations of the survival plan for this species in captivity, this juvenile left the Biodôme the following January to join a female at the Toronto Zoo. Combining the genetic history of these two individuals will help their endangered species survive. A few days after the youngster’s departure, we brought the male and the female back together in the hope that they would become parents again—no easy task! After taking a few swipes at him, the female eventually accepted the male’s presence. Of course, in the wild, the female would only tolerate a male in the mating season—around February. The rest of the time, the animals avoid each other. The female then gives birth and raises her young alone. At the Biodôme, after a few weeks as neighbours, the time came for the two cats to set aside their differences for a while. Their reproductive instinct even overpowered their usual shyness, mating several times in view of visitors to the Biodôme during spring break! Things went quiet again until June 4, when the female gave birth to two females and a male. This time, the keepers did not have to intervene. The previous year, to make up for his mother’s lack of experience, the baby was given two small bottles of milk on the third day to give him the energy to find his mother’s teat. After that, suckling was sufficient.
Learning to be a mother
The female’s experience is easy to see this year. She is calm and moves around her kittens with confidence. Now nine weeks old, the little ones are growing quickly; they are very playful and constantly exploring. Last year, the female picked up her only surviving baby by the scruff of the neck with every new experience. This time, she has shown this behaviour on only a few occasions. Maybe supervising three kittens is hard enough! For the past nine weeks, the little tykes have been kept safe in the night quarters by their mother’s side, but they will soon be ready to explore new horizons. Don’t miss our little family’s introduction into their habitat. The fun has just begun!