Photographer Amos Wiebe was driving down a backroad near Grande Prairie when he noticed something in his peripheral vision — something rustling the treetops nearly 100 feet up.
It was two adult lynx, and they appeared to be fighting, chasing one another up the trunk. Wiebe quickly got out his camera to film the encounter, a video which has since gone viral, snagging over a million views.
It’s not surprising that the video has been shared widely. It gives us a rare glimpse of these incredible animals in the wild. But the most startling part of the video isn’t the sight of the two animals navigating treetops, but rather the sounds they make while doing it. It isn’t an overstatement to describe it as screaming.
Wiebe guessed that the interaction was a mating ritual, or an attempt at one. He believed a male lynx was pursuing a female, who, shrieking, eventually fought him off.
However, Shannon Crowley, a wildlife ecologist with BC’s John Prince Research Forest who has studied lynx behaviours, has another theory. He believes that both lynx are males, and that somewhere nearby, there must have been a female they were fighting over.
“To see that kind of aggression, there must be a female somewhere in the near vicinity,” Crowley told National Geographic.
Whatever the relationship between these animals, Wiebe described seeing the lynx as “one of the most epic experiences of [his] life” in a post on his Famous Amos Photography page. The entire encounter lasted over an hour and a half, and ended in the pursuing lynx leaving the other in the tree.
Wiebe said the lynx didn’t take much interest in him, but when the sun started setting, he told the Edmonton Journal, he decided it was a good time to move on.
“I thought, ‘I better get out of here before I get eaten alive by something else.’”