Patterns of ovarian and luteal activity in captive and wild Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis)

Kerry V. Fanson*, Nadja C. Wielebnowski, Tanya M. Shenk, Jennifer H. Vashon, John R. Squires, Jeffrey R. Lucas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)


Canada lynx face some unique breeding restrictions, which may have implications for population viability and captive management. The goal of this study was to improve our understanding of basic reproductive physiology in Canada lynx. Using fecal hormone metabolite analysis, we established normative patterns of fecal estrogen (fE) and progestagen (fP) expression in captive and wild female Canada lynx. Our results indicate that Canada lynx have persistent corpora lutea, which underlie their uncharacteristic fP profiles compared to other felids. Thus, fP are not useful for diagnosing pregnancy in Canada lynx. We also found that Canada lynx are capable of ovulating spontaneously. Captive females had higher concentrations of fE and fP than wild females. Both populations exhibit a seasonal increase in ovarian activity (as measured by fE) between February and April. Finally, there was evidence of ovarian suppression when females were housed together.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-224
Number of pages8
JournalGeneral and Comparative Endocrinology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010



  • Estrogen
  • Fecal metabolites
  • Lynx
  • Non-invasive
  • Progesterone
  • Seasonality

Cite this

Fanson, K. V., Wielebnowski, N. C., Shenk, T. M., Vashon, J. H., Squires, J. R., & Lucas, J. R. (2010). Patterns of ovarian and luteal activity in captive and wild Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis). General and Comparative Endocrinology, 169(3), 217-224.