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Lynx Cub Named Marysya

Eurasian lynx is a rare species of Ukrainian fauna. Not many people know that European lynx belongs to Ukrainian fauna. Usually it is associated with taiga or forest thickets. In fact, lynx is able to inhabit various landscapes, mountains as well as plains. Also this animal feels well in forest steppe. Due to many ages of human chasing this carnivorous animal was driven to far forests. This animal has become so rare that during last decades it was only once observed in wild habitat of Kharkov region. No wonder that it is included into the Redbook of Ukraine as rare species. It should be protected in compliance with the II Appendix of CITES. Therefore we consider it important to participate in ESB program of European Lynx protection. In Kharkov Zoo a group of these animals is kept in spacious enclosures with live greenery.

This May we noted that the female became more secluded and reluctant to live her hiding place. It was a signal for Zoo workers that she was going to have cubs. Measures were taken to create calm and peaceful environment. Soon in the morning we heard squeking coming from the house. But the female rejected her cubs and did not take care of them. Unfortunately, it occurs regularly to carnivore mammals in captivity. When we came up to see the house, we founв two cubs there. A male cab was dead, the female cub was alive. It is her squeaking that attracted attention of Zoo workers. We found out later that the male was still born. Probably, this caused negative influence on the mother and she abandoned her cubs. This can happen for the first birth experience.

We decided to hand-rear the cub. Alexandra Fyodorovna Tsekhanskaya, deputy director of Kharkov Zoo, took care of the cub. She has many years of experience of hand-rearing of various animal species. Helpless blind cub inspired great compassion. The female got a name of Marysya, after a fairytale of an orphan girl named Marysya. 

First, in order to prevent dehydratation, the cub was given water. After tat Alexandra Fyodorovna worked out a feeding schedule. The cub was fed with fresh goat's milk.

The cub was put on a towel, under the towel electric underblanket was placed. Fortunately, the weather was warm and there were no problems with heating. The cub was fed at 2-2.5 intervals day and night. After each deeding its tummy was to be massaged. A soft napkin is needed for that. The tummy and area under tail should be gently rubbed. Newly-born mammal cubs are so weak that they cannot defecate nor urinate without their mother's help. Their mother licks them all over and engulps their waste in order to keep the den clean. In this case the napkin was a good substitute.

From the first days of her life Marysya became a "traveller". Alexandra Fyodorovna took her daily to her working place. The cub was transported in a warm bag in which she slept with delight. During working hours the cub stayed in Alexandra Fyodorovna's cabinet. In the evening she was taken to human home where she spent her night in human sleeping-room. Alexandra Fyodorovna and her husband Yury Mikhailovitch were engaged in animal care day and night but this was not a problem for them. So many cubs of various species have been hand-reared by them that they got used to living together with this turbulent company.

During the second week of her life Marysya was fed in the nighttime only after she started sqeaking for food. Then lone of her step parents stood up, warmed up the milk, fed the cub and massaged it. This proceeded day after day. By the end of the second week Marysya started to open her eyes. By that time her feeding became a little tiresome procedure. The female attacked her bottle so actively that one had to hold her strong in order not to drop the bottle.

Hand-rearing of the lynx cub, working at the Zoo, house chores and garden care - time flies quickly! Lynx cub, too, was growing up in a speedy way. By one month of age it turned from a clumsy helpless cub into a charming naughty kitten. Constant changes: trips to the working place and back, playing and running with Miniature Pintscher and a toy terrier, walking in the garden and meeting of many human friends who came up to see the family - all this helped Marysya to be bold and communicative. Soon she was leash-trained and ne could walk with her in busy places not fearing of something going wrong. When she was brought to the Zoo, someone from Zoo stuff took her for a walk in Zoo alleys. 

Notwithstanding her friendliness and admiration of people who see her, Marysya is not an easy pet. It is not a dog that is obedient to its master. It is a cat that loves things to be going in its own way. Marysya likes to change the direction of her walk herself. She stops often to listen to some distant noise that attracted her attention. She often changes directions of her walk, sometimes she gets tired etc.