The cubs - two females and one male - were born in May while the zoo was temporarily closed amid New York City’s COVID-19 outbreak. Now mature enough to roam the exhibit, the cubs are busy exploring and entertaining visitors.
“Lynx cubs are really fun to watch at this age. Their characteristically large paws look enormous in comparison to their size,” said Queens Zoo director Mike Allen. “Their playful stalking and pouncing is how they learn to hunt in the wild.”
With the Canada lynx’s short tail and pointed tufts of fur around its ears and cheeks, the medium-sized, grayish-brown cats are easily identifiable. Their oversized paws act as “snowshoes,” preventing them from sinking in snow as they navigate the harsh winters of their native habitat, which spans across Alaska, Canada and portions of the northern and western U.S.
Though Canada lynx populations are healthy in some parts of their range, the cats are protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, which seeks to protect species that are threatened. In the U.S., lynx populations have declined due to fur trapping and habitat destruction.
The three Queens Zoo cubs were bred in line with a recommendation from the Canada Lynx Species Survival Plan, a cooperative that works to enhance the genetic viability of animal populations in accredited zoos and aquariums.
Along with four other Wildlife Conservation Society parks across the city, including the Prospect Park Zoo and New York Aquarium, Queens Zoo has been officially reopened to the public after going on lockdown in March. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and until 5:30 p.m. on weekends.
All visitors over the age of three are required to wear masks. Tickets for admission to the zoo, located within Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, can be purchased online and are restricted to a specific date.
A full list of the park’s COVID-19 safety protocols is available on the “Know Before You Go” page at queenszoo.com