Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Freed lynx benefited from lucky breaks

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It doesn't have a name, but a lynx recently caught by a trap in Thompson might answer to Lucky.

The lynx freed last week by Manitoba Conservation officials from a soft trap, while caught in a Thompson resident's fence, had got that far in the first place because the trap's anchor system failed.

Secondly, the lynx was then released into the bush outside the city after Conservation officials got the trap off and determined its paw sustained no damage. Thirdly, trapping season for lynx closed in the Thompson area on Feb. 28 which was the same day this lynx was bounding back into the bush.

"The resource officer drove it about 10 miles (16 kilometres) out of town in an area where there's lots of rabbits and hopefully it will go and get some," said Lyle Saskowski, the regional services superintendent with Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship. "The paw was not injured at all, and I felt very comfortable releasing it."

Saskowski was the individual who removed the trap from the lynx's paw while the wild cat was trapped in a fence and a resource officer held its head steady and its teeth away from Saskowski, in a snare pole.

"I was pulling down on the springs of it and Craig Delaronde (of the City of Thompson) opened the jaws of it and the leg came out," said Saskowski, whose face was in close proximity to the face of the lynx.

"(We felt) very good. I'm glad that we looked at all the options we had. I'm glad Mr. Delaronde and I decided to go that route. It's a good, positive story."

Traplines are required to be registered, licences are mandatory for all trappers and lines must be checked every 72 hours.

"This was a legal trap," the official said. "It was a padded, soft-catch trap; all it does is really hold the leg. There's no steel on steel against the leg. For trappers, it's a humane holding device."

Had the trap's anchor held, the lynx would have been "disposed of" by the trapper who was trapping it for its fur. In this case, it pulled the trap up and escaped with the trap attached to its foot.

The quick actions of homeowner Stephen and Shawna Kirby-McDougall to keep it inside their yard and contact Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship to free the animal gave this lynx a new lease on life.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPAshleyPrest

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 8, 2013 A7

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