GRAY, Maine -- Three Lynx Kittens, each three months old, recently arrived at the Maine Wildlife Park, and are now in their new home at the Maine Wildlife Park, available for the public to view.
The domestic lynx kittens, two males and one female, were born earlier this summer in captivity in New Hampshire at the Charmingfare Farm. The kittens and their parents were born and bred in captivity and would not be able to survive in the wild, so the Maine Wildlife Park will now be their permanent home. The lynx is listed as a threatened species in the lower 48 states under the federal Endangered Species Act.
The lynx kittens will join the bobcat and mountain lions as representatives of Maine's current and former native species. Mountain lions are fully protected, and are federally listed as an endangered species. The Department receives sighting reports of mountain lions regularly, yet there has been no actual documentation of their presence in Maine. Bobcats are found statewide, with a regular hunting and trapping season. Visitors to the park can note the examples of physical adaptations between the similar species. The park also has a program called Maine's Big Cats which is done three times weekly, as well as for school children during spring and fall wildlife programs for visiting schools.
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began studying lynx in the Allagash region of northern Maine in 1999 to learn more about the status of lynx. Biologists verified the existence of a resident population of lynx in Maine in the first year of the study when they documented a den with two kittens. Since March 1999, biologists have captured and marked 93 lynx, including 32 radio collared adult and subadults, and 61 kittens. Lynx litter sizes that were documented early this summer in the Allagash region of Maine exceeded expectations, averaging 4.3 kittens as compared to 1999-2002 of 1.5-2.5 kittens per litter.
Historical records suggest that lynx have persisted in Maine in low numbers throughout the past century. They have been fully protected (no hunting or trapping) since 1967 in Maine. Lynx track surveys have been conducted by IFW since 1995. Field study began in January, 1999.
The Maine Wildlife Park is a 200-acre park that has over 25 different species of wildlife on exhibit, including moose, black bear, fisher, lynx, mountain lions, white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, bald eagles, hawks, owls, trophy trout and more.
The Maine Wildlife Park is open from April 19 through November 11 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Visitors are allowed to remain in the park until 6:00 p.m. Admission is $4.50 for adults, $3.00 ages 5-12, and children 4 and under are free. There are special prices for groups of 15 and more, and ages 60+ pay $3.50 for admission.
The Maine Wildlife Park is located off the Maine Turnpike on Exit 11 on Route 26 in Gray, Maine, and is operated by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
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