A lynx and her kitten have become Canadian celebrities this winter by spending time at the Lake Louise Ski Area in Banff National Park.
The pair slowed traffic on the Trans-Canada Highway when they got through a fence in late January, the Calgary Herald reported. Parks Canada said several drivers reported seeing them and employees were dispatched to signal a reduced speed in the area.
"It's an impressive sight for anyone who has the opportunity to see them," said Omar McDadi, a spokesman for Parks Canada. "It's a testament to their flexibility and agility, as the photos clearly portray, that they are able to move through the fence."
The Canada lynx is a small wildcat, weighing from 18 to 24 pounds and measuring between 31 and 41 inches.
The species is closely related to the bobcat and to Iberian and Eurasian lynxes.
The lynx and kitten were first spotted in the Lake Louise area about a month ago. Since then, they have been seen playing at the ski area and wandering the Bow River Parkway.
Naturalists say the opportunity to observe the pair has given them new insights into lynx behavior. Their actions have also suggested the fences along the Trans-Canada Highway need to be lynx-proofed.
"If you drive the speed limit out there, as everybody knows, you'll be the slowest vehicle on the road," Mike McIvor of the Bow Valley Naturalists told the Herald. "It's also a concern that they were able to get through the fence, although very interesting. I wonder if this is just one adult that figured out how to do it."