Keepers at Newquay Zoo are currently running a positive reinforcement training programme with their two rare Carpathian Lynx. Named Willow and Boomer, the two Lynx arrived back in March and are part of a new breeding programme at the zoo.
Boomer at work by Michelle Turton
Although part of the small cat family, Carpathian Lynx are powerfully built. The average adult measures between 34 and 42 inches long and has an 8-inch tail and yellow/brown spotted coat.
Well developed whiskers can grow to mane-like proportions in the winter, during which time the lynx's already fury paws grow extra layers between the toes to create a snowshoe effect.
Willow and Boomer have been back at Newquay Zoo since early Spring 2009, and are now part of a new breeding programme at the attraction.
Head Keeper Sam Harley said: "We train Boomer the male 4 to 5 times a week with the aim of being able to administer veterinary treatment, check his claws or as we are doing at the moment to show us his teeth.
Boomer by Michelle Turton
"This means that we will be able to give preventative treatment which will help in their care. Willow the female is much more cautious and is at the moment learning by watching. As Boomer's training develops will start one to one training with Willow."
The training does not happen every day but when it does the zoo runs talks for the visitors so they can see how Boomer is developing.
A keen sense of smell allows the lynx to detect prey via scent trails. Their ambush style attack means they rarely run, but will leap from several metres away or out of a tree onto an unsuspecting meal.
In the wild bears and wolves will steal the lynx's food and so they hide scraps under foliage and rocks.
last updated: 20/08/2009 at 14:23
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