FREDERICTON (GNB) – The Canadian lynx discovered in downtown Fredericton on April 16 was returned to the woods today after spending a week at the Atlantic Wildlife Institute.

The animal had been spotted on the lawn of a downtown church. After a short chase, it was captured by Department of Natural Resource officers with the help of Fredericton Police Force.

At the Atlantic Wildlife Institute, the animal was examined by veterinarians to ensure it did not have any injuries or underlying problems that would have hindered its safe return to the wild.

It was determined that the lynx was an older cat, it was in good shape and had a healthy appetite.

“I thank everyone who was involved in making sure that the lynx was well looked after and returned to the woods safely,” said Natural Resources Minister Denis Landry. “In particular, I thank our staff, the police department of Fredericton and the staff of the Atlantic Wildlife Institute.”

The animal was set free in a wooded area about 100 km from Fredericton. The area is known by biologists to be frequented by lynx and has abundant food sources for the animals.

The Canada Lynx is a “species at risk.” It is a medium-sized cat with grey-brown fur. It has long back legs that give it an inclined posture.

The lynx is distinguished from the bobcat by the long pointed tufts on its ears, an entirely dark-tipped tail and fewer spots on its legs and belly. The species has particularly large paws, allowing it to move easily on deep snow to hunt its primary prey, the snowshoe hare.

The height of the breeding season is from mid-March to the beginning of April, with a gestation period of nine weeks. Litter sizes are usually two or three – and can sometimes be up to five kittens. They stay with their mother for the first winter only after which they become solitary.