Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lynxes mistaken for bears in Finland

Lynxes mistaken for bears appear in Nuuksio National Park

What's the difference between a lynx and a bear?

Apparently not much, at least if you are scared stiff of both of them, so much so that you even lose count of the numbers.

On Saturday, two frightened hikers were picked up by helicopter in the Nuuksio National Park after they had reported seeing a mother bear and three cubs walking some 50 metres away from them.

Later on, there has been some doubt cast about the sighting of the bears, as traces of three lynxes have been spotted at the same site.

And now it seems the the four-legged perpetrators of the wildlife scare have earlier been caught on film at the scene of the crime.

Sundry parts of his camera went flying, when Veli-Matti Parmala rushed to photograph three lynxes which had appeared in his yard.

"Probably the self-same animals", Parmala guesses. He has been spending his time on the northern shore of the lake known as Pitkä Saarijärvi in the Nuuksio National Park for more than 50 years.

Whatever the truth, seeing the cats with tufted ears in his yard made Parmala’s heart beat nineteen to the dozen.

After getting hold of his camera, Parmala continued to struggle with the power switch of the device.

"I should have stopped and taken a deep breath and started from the beginning", Parmala says now.

Luckily for him, the lynxes remained playing in the yard for some five minutes, offering a generous photo opportunity.

"The mother and one of the kittens jumped over the fence, but the other youngster did not want to jump. It ran some 30 metres towards the shore, and came back to the others through a gate. It was obviously a familiar place for them", Parmala recalls.

The three animals showed up in Parmala's yard on Friday of last week, a day before they were mistaken for bears.

According to game researchers, the number of lynxes has increased strongly for example in the province of Uusimaa in the course of the past ten years, and apart from Espoo, lynx tracks have been spotted at least in Helsinki’s Viikki as well as in Kirkkonummi.


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