Well, hopefully the lynx doesn’t accidentally destroy it, right? Surprisingly enough, when wildlife ecologists conducted a study on a Canada lynx, the mic they used wasn’t smashed into smithereens! Researchers delved deeper into the lives of these elusive predators through safely attaching a small microphone to lynx collars:
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Much to our excitement, these recorders were very effective atcapturing the behavior of the lynx: “cats being cats” (grooming, sleeping); social behavior (aggressive interactions, purring, long-distance social calls); and hunting behavior (chases, kills, feeding).
Over the five years of our study in the Yukon’s Kluane region, we collected over 14,000 hours of audio recordings from 26 individual lynx. After using various methods of data processing, we were able to identify kills by Canada lynx with 87 percent accuracy — an impressive feat.
Previously, to know that a single kill had been made often required a full day of intensive snowshoeing and tracking during the short winter days in the Yukon. But by recording multiple lynx, we could collect information 24 hours a day, while we warmed our feet by a wood stove in a rustic cabin.
In addition to audio recorders, we also attached accelerometers — small devices that measure activity over time like you would find in a FitBit. Together with GPS tracking devices, these “biologging technologies” provide unprecedented insight into the complex behaviors of these cats.
Image credit: Zdeněk Macháček (Unsplash)