'Really bizarre' encounter between 2 wild, shrieking lynx caught on video
Ed Trist lives off-grid in the Ontario bush, about 17 kilometres from the closest town, but a video he posted on Facebook has thrust him into a global spotlight.
Trist had been planning to catch a few minnows for fishing but instead caught a rare sighting of two lynx squaring off and wailing at one another.
"It was really bizarre," he said, adding that it's not unusual to see a lynx around the area, but the typically reclusive cat will usually be gone in a flash.
"You just get a quick glimpse of them and they're outta there. Two of them, together, headbutting each other and squaring off? It's extremely rare."
Trist, his girlfriend Nicole Lewis and his daughter daughter were in an off-road vehicle, heading down a logging road in Avery Lake, 150 kilometres directly east of Kenora, when they came across the cats.
They stopped about nine metres from the lynx and watched for about 10 minutes, "and they didn't even care that we were there," Trist said.
When the trio decided to keep going, they drove right past the cats, who remained focused on one another.
Trist and Lewis both recorded the encounter and later posted the videos on their respective Facebook pages. Combined, the videos had eight million views between them in two days and nearly 190,000 shares.
Trist said he has been contacted by people "all over the world" who want to buy the video or interview him.
"It's absolutely overwhelming, to be honest," he said.
He hasn't been back down the logging road since Friday, but was planning a return on Monday.
While he'll keep his eyes peeled for the lynx, Trist said he always needs to be on guard for animal encounters because there are a lot of bears.
"You often see something. There's so much wildlife," he said. "But it's all luck running into that [lynx encounter]. Somebody said maybe I should buy a lottery ticket."
Chris Enright, head of veterinary services at Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, agreed it is an extremely uncommon sight.
"Lynx are fairly common and I don't doubt they have this sort of interactions with one another, hidden in the boreal forest throughout Canada. But typically it's not witnessed, so it's really neat for that person to see," he said.
"We see cats and how they interact in a zoo setting, and it's always neat to see the same behaviour purely in the wild, but unfortunately we don't always get to see it. It's certainly a unique opportunity for us."
Without being able to tell the gender of the cats, Enright could only offer conjecture on what the encounter was about.
"If it was a little earlier in the season, I might suspect it was breeding season, and that was a male and female interacting, but it's a little bit tough to say from a minute on video," he said.
"This is a little late in the [breeding] season, but animals don't always read the textbook of when they're supposed to do things, so it certainly wouldn't have been impossible for one of those two lynx to have been a female that was torn between wanting to interact not wanting to, if you will."
There is also the possibility it was two males competing for a female, or it could have been two cats who simply crossed paths and are a little letting each other know about their territories.
"Lynx are normally quite a solitary cat, but their home ranges may overlap," Enright said.
"A lot of animal interactions avoid direct conflict so there's vocalizations, there's body posturing, there's ways to kind of size each other up without directly having to get into a fight."
Whatever the reason, "it's really neat to get this window onto normal lynx behaviour in a really neat but reclusive species."