Canada Lynx kitten, ‘Jasper’, was out enjoying the fall atmosphere, recently, at Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, Washington. The six-month-old was helping the zoo promote their upcoming annual event, “Zoo Boo”, a special fall themed weekend that will be held October 18th and 19th.
Jasper was a feature on ZooBorns in July of this year and it is exciting to see him working toward fulfilling his duties as an ambassador for his species, as part of the Species Survival Plan. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums developed the Species Survival Plan (SSP) in 1981, in an effort to help ensure the survival of selected species. SSP programs focus on animals that are in danger of extinction in the wild, when zoo conservationists believe captive breeding programs may be their only chance to survive.
AZA accredited zoos that are involved in SSP programs engage in cooperative population management and conservation efforts that include research, public education, reintroduction, and field conservation projects. Animal Ambassadors, like Jasper, are an important part of the education provided by SSP programs. By being able to more intimately interact with the animal ambassadors, zoo visitors can gain an understanding about the impact each species can have on the world.
The Canada Lynx is native to North America, and it ranges across Canada, into Alaska and in some parts of the northern Continental United States. Although currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated the Canada Lynx as a “Threatened Species” in the lower 48 states. The species is trapped for its fur and has declined in many areas due to habitat loss.
More great photos below the fold!