Apparently there were a higher number of lynx sightings in Denali in 2001 which meant that these felines were at the height of their population cycle. They follow the snowshoe hares' population very closely. If there are a lot of hares, the lynx numbers increase as well. This goes in ten year cycles. Then there's a crash in the population and it has to build itself up again.
This lynx was very far away and I used a 400mm lens. Unfortunately that wasn't even close to enough. I enlarged the pic during scanning as well, hence the poor quality. I think it's identifiable, though. ;-)
Most people coming to Denali want to see the big 5: grizzly bears, moose, caribou, Dall sheep, and wolves. Of course, these are animals that I always wanted to see as well, but I wanted to see something new too! I had never seen a wild cat (lynx, mountain lion, bobcat, etc.) in the wild prior to June 2001 when I was on a shuttle bus in Denali. We had stopped at Polychrome Pass as a rest stop and I got to talking with the driver. I asked him what his must unusual sighting in the park was. In his 12 years working there, he had seen a lynx once... I mentioned that I wanted to see one as well, although I knew it wasn't likely. We got on the bus and not 5 minutes later we stopped to check out an animal walking along a ridgeline. At first the driver thought it could be a fox. I looked through my binoculars and right away knew it was a lynx! I couldn't believe my luck! Strange too, that I had just been talking about this very animal minutes before...
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