Less than a month ago, four cubs were born to the lynx family at the Moscow Zoo. The entire large East Siberian lynx family is taking care of the newborns: their mother, father and three siblings who were born last year.
“We are witnessing a unique situation. Our lynxes have formed a close-knit, and so to speak, loving family. When the mother lynx goes out to eat, the elder sisters watch the cubs while the father and a male from the last year’s litter guard the territory. It is very curious to watch them. Such care and cohesion are very touching and unusual,” said Moscow Zoo General Director Svetlana Akulova.
She said that in the wild, lynxes prefer a solitary life. Males leave their females before the cubs are born, and the mother takes care of her litter by herself. Also, grown-up cubs never communicate with their younger siblings.
It was because of the animal’s love for solitude that the lynxes at the Moscow Zoo could not form a couple for 8 years. It took the animals years to learn to understand one another and make friends. They preferred to stay away from each other. And only last year they gave the zoo three long-awaited cubs: two females and a male. There are plans to move the cubs to other European and Russian zoos in the future.
“We don’t know the gender of the newborn lynxes yet: they are only two weeks old. Zoo keepers try not to bother the family so that the cubs can grow in a peaceful environment. Zoologists will know the cub’s gender after several months when their first veterinary check-up and vaccination takes place,” Svetlana Akulova added.
The little predators are feeding exclusively on their mother’s milk. In about two months, they will try meat, which she will bring to them, and for the first time, they will go out outside and explore their enclosure. By nine months, the cubs will moult into their adult coat, and will receive their ear tufts by 1-1.5 years.
Lynxes have been kept at the Moscow Zoo since its establishment in 1864. Together with foreign zoos, the Moscow Zoo is recording its lynxes in the European Breed Registry. The lynx family lives in the old part of the zoo, in the Feline Row.
For many years, the Moscow Zoo has taken part in programmes to preserve and recreate the populations of rare species in captivity. Experts try to create the most comfortable environment for the animals to live and reproduce. Thus, a wolverine kit has recently been born in the zoo (the previous litter was born in 2015). Like lynxes, wolverines live alone. The kit can be seen in the new area of the zoo in the Russian Fauna section.
The Japanese macaques, also known as snow monkeys, have also had a new addition to their family. They live in an enclosure by the pedestrian bridge.