Cameraman Sam Ellis spent 76 days tracking wild Canadian lynx through the remote Yukon wilderness. Along the way, he developed a remarkable friendship with one very special wild male lynx.
This unique relationship allowed Sam to capture some epic never-before-filmed behaviour — including a wild lynx successfully hunting a snowshoe hare.
Canada’s lynx are dependent on snowshoe hares for their survival, but the hares are very good at evading them. The lynx has incredibly large paws and when they walk, they splay their big paws out so they float across the deep snow without sinking. This adaptation allows the lynx to sneak up close enough to a hare to have a chance at catching one. They must get within at least 10 metres before they strike.
But a wild lynx hunt had never before been captured on film, and series producer Jeff Turner was determined that The Wild Canadian Year team would be the first, even though keeping pace with a wild lynx is no easy feat! “It was a feat of endurance and determination. Cameraman Sam Ellis had to cover dozens of kilometres a day, snowshoeing through snow and thick brush with 30 kilograms of gear on his back.”
Over time, he got to know one particular male lynx, nicknamed Mad Max. After initially tracking Max with the help of radio telemetry, over time, the tables turned, and Max started approaching Sam! “He started making himself visible to me, kind of coming up to me and saying, “Hey, I’m here” and then walking in front of me, luring me on,” recalls Ellis.
“This relationship offered a window into the world of the lynx that no one has ever had before. How amazing is it just to be able to walk behind a wild Canadian lynx and see what it does?” asks Turner.
Click play on the video above to watch.