Close-knit family: Moscow Zoo has now East Siberian lynx offspring

June 26
Parks and pedestrian areas

The Moscow Zoo has now two kittens born to the East Siberian lynx family. You may see the newborn lynx and their family in the Cat Street in the old part of the Zoo.

"Cubs born to the lynx couple is a happy and big event for the Zoo. For several years, our experts have been trying to couple a female Gayka and a male Chip. However, animals did not show interest in each other, so they had to be kept apart. Only in 2017, we succeeded at last, and the lynx had their first young. The cubs born this year are the third lynx offspring, so now we may confidently say that despite all the difficulties, the Moscow Zoo has now a true lynx family, whose members live in peace and harmony with each other. The fact is that this form of social organisation is not typical for lynx, since in the wild they usually lead solitary life, like other cats do. So, to some extent, our lynx pride is a unique phenomenon," said Svetlana Akulova, Director General of the Moscow Zoo.

She says that kids spend all their time with their mother. She carefully grooms her cubs, keeps them close by her side. Gayka takes care about their place's comfort: she makes soft bedding of hay for her and her newborns, and every day moves kittens from one shelter to another. In the wild, animals do that to confuse predators who can find cubs by smell. Chip also shows his male parental care, since he earnestly guards his kittens, patrols the cage, and keeps an eye on the visitors.

Now cubs are about 500 g each. Before they are 3.5 months old, they will feed on mother's milk, and further on they will start to try some solid food. Lynx eat chopped beef heart, liver, poultry, eggs, and special mineral supplements necessary for their healthy development.

Big brothers and sisters, one-year-old females Businka and Tykovka and males Siegfried and Tristan, will soon be able to join in cubs' upbringing. This experience is to help them in the future, when they will be moved to other zoos and have their own young. But so far they stay away and occasionally come closer to sniff the newborns.

East Siberian lynx have been kept at the Moscow Zoo almost since the time of its foundation. Along with other foreign zoos, the Moscow Zoo records its lynx in the European Studbook. Zoo-born cubs will be moved to major Russian zoos. So Gayka and Chip's kittens born in 2017 were transferred to Barnaul, Kaluga and Chelyabinsk zoos. A pair of cubs born this year will also add to creation of a captive population of this species.

East Siberian lynx is included in the IUCN Red List. It is found in forest and mountain areas of Europe, Siberia, Central Asia and partly Asia Minor. The animal has thick soft fur, a short body and strong long legs. Lynx body length varies from 82 to 105 cm with a tail between 20 and 31cm long. The weight of this Felidae species may reach 20 kg. Lynx differ by colour depending on their habitat. Northern lynx have whole-coloured dull fur, while lynx living in the South have bright coats with pronounced spotting. As for their senses, lynx have vision and hearing best developed. Lynx can distinguish colours and their brightness degree. So this predator is capable of hearing a hare gnawing a twig 100 m away. But their sense of smell is weak, though lynx can easily find their prey following hot scent. Lynx hunt at dusk, only young animals go hunting in the daytime.

Moscow Zoo is currently extending its collection, now comprising over 1,000 species.  In 2017, it got its first aardvark and three couples of gentoo penguins.  In 2018, it received two Amur tigers, a Far Eastern leopard, a secretary bird, crested curassows and a trumpeter.

This year's brightest event is the long-awaited appearance of two pandas from China.

In 2019, the Moscow Zoo turns 155. Themed concerts, performances, quests, master classes and tours will be held on its grounds to celebrate the anniversary. Pallas's cat bas-relief symbolising the Moscow Zoo, has been returned to decorate the main entrance arch.  Over 30 years ago, Pallas's cat was chosen a symbol as well as talisman of the Moscow Zoo.


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