Parks Canada worker gets photos, video of rare lynx sighting near Lake Louise in Banff National Park

Steve Mertl
National Affairs Contributor
Daily Brew

People rarely see the beautiful lynx outside of a zoo but those heading to the resort village of Lake Louise in Banff National Park have been treated to a look at a pair of the little wildcats spotted near town, The Canadian Press reports.

Parks Canada has released photos and a brief video of a mother lynx and her kitten. The images were shot by a Parks Canada staffer who was helping keep the cats off a nearby highway in Banff National Park.

The images show the agile animals slinking through a wire fence that's supposed to keep wildlife away from the road.

Parks Canada officials told CP such sightings are extremely rare but that this is considered a peak year for lynxes in the area.

“In addition to the remarkable photos, this is a good news story that highlights how the public can assist with wildlife conservation in our national parks,” Parks Canada spokesman Omar McDadi said in a news release.

The lynx, which can weigh up to 24 pounds and reach more than three feet in length and almost two feet high at the shoulders, are notoriously shy animals.

[ Related: Project highlights dangers of Banff wildlife encounters ]

Parks officials received calls from members of the public who spotted the cats near the road, McDadi said, "prompting an immediate response from our conservation officer, who was able to secure the area of the highway where the lynx were present and help to keep them off the road until they eventually disappeared into the forest.”

Probably more photos taken by passersby will surface but there's no indication any rubberneckers tried to approach the cats. The stretch of highway west of the Banff park gates is notorious for drivers pulling over to take photos and even try to feed local wildlife, including potentially dangerous black bears.

It's not a wildlife theme park, people.

And as for Parks Canada, maybe they need to install a chain-lynx fence.