A limping lynx was looking for lunch in Steve Kirby-McDougall's yard when the Thompson, Man. resident saw the animal's front left paw was ensnared in a trap.
Kirby-McDougall had stopped by home on his lunch break on Feb. 28 and saw the lynx sitting in his yard. He had grabbed his video camera and sat safely inside his truck to capture unique shots of the majestic wild cat when he was dismayed to see the trap attached to the animal’s paw with a chain trailing behind it.
"It was quite surreal. It was just sitting there in my front yard and at first I thought it had its paw on something white, maybe a rabbit that had been around (the yard) all season," said Kirby-McDougall, who works as a geologist.
"It was behind a snowbank and I noticed it was limping but as soon it came out into the driveway, I could see its paw and that was no rabbit. It was a trap, all iced up, on its foot."
The good news part of the story is that his neighbour pulled up and the startled lynx loped into the yard, allowing Kirby-McDougall to shut the gate. The lynx chased the aforementioned rabbit and got stuck in a hole in the fence.
Officers from Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship and a City of Thompson animal control and protection officer were summoned and, using a snare pole, immobilized the lynx enough to remove the trap while it was still stuck in the fence.
The lynx was caged and transported to the conservation office where it was examined and released outside the city when no injury was detected.
Kirby-McDougall said an official called him later that evening to tell him that the lynx was lively and long gone.
"The trap was a rubber-coated leg hold, a soft trap that grabs and holds, not the old metal slamming together," he said. "It didn’t do any real physical damage as far as breaking the skin or bones or anything like that. It could bear weight and walk around so they released it in the bush."
Kirby-McDougall said it was "pretty cool" that he and his wife Shawna were able to tell their children aged 5, 7, and 9, that there was a happy ending to the story.
"They were just pretty amazed that we had a lynx in our yard," he said. "We've had rabbits, grouse, fox but this was our first lynx."