Sunday, 22 October 2017

A Secret Lynx...

A Summer's Day on Lake Päijänne Finland (1902)
Thorsten Waenerberg

Yesterday, I heard a story which made my day. For a moment I was taken out of the everyday work routine and transported to a place where nature thrives and whispers secrets best kept. A place, peaceful, where wildlife can freely roam undisturbed. A very rare and possibly 'once-in-a-lifetime' experience happened upon a quiet and gentle soul.  A moment that would have rocked anyone's world.

A work colleague who knows that I have a passion for big cats, especially lynx, told me about a friend of her Mothers, back home in Finland, who is a retired ferry boat driver. He is now the caretaker of a very small island on Lake Päijänne. He resides and works on the tranquil island, enjoying his own quiet wilderness. He encounters many birds and sometimes, otters...apparently they just come up to him and are completely relaxed in his company. He is a kind man and keen to protect his natural, unspoiled surroundings. It seems that the animals know this.

Around three weeks a go, whilst walking in a forested area, he came to an opening and to his amazement and surprise, right in front of him was a lynx. It just looked at him, making eye contact and didn't stir. The lynx showed no fear or aggression. For a while, the two of them were just in the moment. An extraordinary, privileged moment. Then, it turned and disappeared back in to the trees.

 The caretaker was filled with joy at such an intimate sighting. One of the most elusive and secretive cats on the planet had been sharing the island. It must have been there since the last freeze, which would have been the only way the cat could have crossed the lake. Furthermore, it is very likely that on such a small island, the lynx would have been aware of its human neighbour. Perhaps it wanted to reward him with its presence as a show of respect. Like the otters, trusting that all was safe and well. 

It is likely that the lynx had padded through ancient woodland and across frozen lakes, probably in search of a mate, yet happened upon and actually became trapped on the island, which suggests it had been early Spring-time. Naturally, it adapted well, spending the summer months thriving, due to the abundance of prey and of course, its ability to stay a secret.

Earth Island Institute photo of Eurasian Lynx
(Google images 22/10/17)

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