Lynxes are known as mainly solitary carnivores. Social contacts between adults are believed to be strictly limited to a mating season and within mother-kits family group.Nevertheless, in our studies (together with Wild Naliboki team) on the lynx ecology and behaviour in Naliboki Forest, we have already found many other social contacts in non-mating season. In the winter 2016-2017 we found out an adult male and female lynxes were regularly walking together from November up to the mating season in February-March. We have pictures of a male and a female at the same spot in November within the same minute. During the next months – while snow-tracking them – we found out that they regularly hunted together. At the same time, the male tended to go alone for territorial marking far away outside of the core area of their paired stay. The same winter we found another adult male and female lynxes living together since mid-December till mid-April.
In the winter of 2017-2018 in Naliboki Forest, we registered two adult males, which regularly stayed (walked, hunted, groomed, slept etc.) with females in the period of November-January.
It looks like, if an adult male lynx has an adult female within its home range, it tend to join with the female for frequent living together.
Another interesting aspect in social interactions between lynxes is that of sub-adults, their mother and the new kittens of the year. Lynx yearlings separate from their mother in spring just before or during a month after the mating season. Some yearlings disperse right away, others hang around in the vicinity of their natal home range for a while longer.
In the beginning of the winter 2016-2017 in Naliboki Forest we photographed a female with her two kittens of the year together with a sub-adult i.e. a young of the previous year. Later that winter, during snow tracking sessions we also found their joint tracks, but not all the time. Often the subadult was walking alone, it stayed the whole winter in a very small area (approximately 10-15 km²), within the larger home range of the mother.
In the period of November-December 2017 and January 2018 in Naliboki Forest we registered the same adult female lynx with one kit of the year and two kits of the previous year (subadults on the second year of life).
Generally, we think that during winter time mother lynxes tend to accept some of their kits of the previous year (i.e. subadults), if they still roaming within their home ranges. This behavioral feature is demographically essential, because that leads to the higher survival in subadults. Surviving of subadults is crucial for the lynx demography, and just subadults die, first of all, when prey supply is abnormal. Usually that leads to the lynx population decline (see here).