Turkestan Lynx

Turkestan Lynx

Central Asian lynx, Tibetan lynx, Himalayan lynx

SUBSPECIES OF

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Suborder
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Lynx lynx isabellinus
Population size
Unknown
Life Span
15 years

The Turkestan lynx (Lynx lynx isabellinus) is a subspecies of Eurasian lynx native to Central Asia. It is also known as Central Asian lynx, Tibetan lynx, or Himalayan lynx. It is widespread from west in Central Asia, from South Asia to China and Mongolia.

Appearance

Generally, Turkestan lynxes have a similar appearance to Eurasian lynxes. They have a relatively short, reddish, or brown coat that is marked with black spots; their number and pattern are highly variable. The underparts, neck, and chin are whitish. The fur is more brightly coloured with more numerous spots in animals living at the southern end of its range. In winter, it is much thicker and varies from silver-grey to greyish-brown. Some animals have dark brown stripes on the forehead and back. Eurasian lynxes have powerful, relatively long legs, with large webbed and furred paws that act like snowshoes. They also have a short "bobbed" tail with an all-black tip, black tufts of hair on their ears, and a long grey-and-white ruff.

Distribution

Geography

Turkestan lynxes are found in Central Asia from Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Afghanistan to Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, and China. They live in open woodlands, steppe, and rocky hills. In the Indian Himalayas, these animals were sighted at high elevations in Hemis National Park and on the Changtang Plateau in Ladakh.

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Little information is available about the behavior of Turkestan lynxes. Generally, Eurasian lynxes are nocturnal or crepuscular animals and spend the day sleeping in dense thickets or other places of concealment. However, they may hunt during the day when food is scarce. Adult lynxes are typically solitary and have hunting areas that can be anything from 20 to 450 km2 (7.7 to 173.7 sq mi), depending on the local availability of prey. Males tend to hunt over much larger areas than females, which tend to occupy exclusive, rather than overlapping, hunting ranges. Eurasian lynxes can travel up to 20 km (12 mi) during one night looking for prey. They patrol regularly throughout all parts of their hunting range, using scent marks to indicate their presence to other individuals. Eurasian lynxes are ambush predators but also hunt by stalking, sneaking, and jumping on prey using both vision and hearing. They often climb onto high rocks or fallen trees to scan the surrounding area. Eurasian lynxes are generally silent outside of the breeding season. They have been observed to mew, hiss, growl, and purr, and, like domestic cats, will "chatter" at prey that is just out of reach. Mating calls are much louder, consisting of deep growls in the male, and loud "meow-like" sounds in the female. Eurasian lynxes are secretive, and because the sounds they make are very quiet and seldom heard, their presence in an area may go unnoticed for years.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Turkestan lynxes are carnivores and like other Eurasian lynxes, they hunt on small to fairly large-sized mammals and birds. Populations that live in Dolpa District in the Nepal Himalayas prey on Woolly hares, pikas, Mountain voles, Himalayan marmots, and domestic goats.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
PREGNANCY DURATION
67-74 days
BABY CARRYING
2-3 kittens
INDEPENDENT AGE
10 months
BABY NAME
kitten

Information about the reproductive habits and time of breeding of Turkestan lynxes is scarce. Like Eurasian lynxes, they are probably polygynous meaning that one male mates with more than one female during the breeding season. Like in Eurasian lynxes, the gestation probably lasts 67-74 days. Pregnant females construct dens in secluded locations, often protected by overhanging branches or tree roots. The dens they line with feathers, deer hair, and dry grass to provide bedding for the young. Females usually have 2 kittens, rarely 3. At birth, kittens weigh 240 to 430 g (8.5 to 15.2 oz) and open their eyes after 10-12 days. They initially have plain, greyish-brown fur, attaining full adult coloration around 11 weeks of age. They begin to take solid food at 6-7 weeks when they begin to leave the den but are not fully weaned for 5 or 6 months. The den is abandoned 2-3 months after the kittens are born, but they typically remain with their mother until they are around 10 months of age. Reproductive maturity is usually attained at 2-3 years of age.

Population

Population threats

As a whole Eurasian lynxes suffer from habitat loss, loss of prey due to illegal hunting, game hunting, and trapping for fur.

Population number

The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Turkestan lynx total population size. However, there are available estimates of populations in the following regions: 130 individuals in the Gissar Nature Reserve, Uzbekistan; 27,000 individuals in China in 2019; 80-120 individuals in northern Pakistan in 2003. In Afghanistan, the Turkestan lynx is considered Threatened. It is listed as Near Threatened on Pakistan's and Mongolia's national Red Lists. It is listed as Endangered in China, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and as Vulnerable in Nepal and Uzbekistan.

Coloring Pages

References

1. Turkestan lynx Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkestan_lynx

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