Alaska News

A rare sighting of a lynx family on the Anchorage Hillside

Lynx in Alaska are solitary creatures but an Anchorage man got a surprise earlier this week when he spotted five of them from his living room.

Michael Gerstl, 36, was able to snap a few pictures with his cellphone as the group of lynx made their way down the road past his house near Flattop Mountain.

Gerstl said he initially saw one through his living room window — his first time spotting the animal in his four years in Alaska and one year of living on the Hillside — and then watched as the others quickly followed it.

He even got his 3 1/2-year-old daughter over to the window to watch as the felines made their way down the road.

"I don't know if she'll remember it but I knew it was pretty special," he said in a phone interview Saturday. "She was staring out the window in awe."

[VIDEO: Lynx pays a visit to Anchorage Hillside home]

Ken Marsh, spokesman for Alaska Department of Fish and Game's Division of Wildlife Conservation, said while sightings are rare, it's not unusual to hear of a group of lynx kits still with their mothers.


Lynx breed in the spring and produce litters of between four and six kittens. The kittens will stay with their mothers for about a year, learning to hunt and care for themselves. Lynx populations fluctuate cyclically and are tied to the snowshoe hare populations, their main food source.

[Related: Bunny boom replaces bust as hares have a heyday in Alaska]

Gerstl tried to get better pictures with his SLR camera, but in the time it took him to run upstairs to grab it, the lynx had already made it down the road and moved back into the trees.

"It was pretty obvious that they were interested in something over the snowbank that was just off the road," he said.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to remove references to the group of lynx as a pack.

Suzanna Caldwell

Suzanna Caldwell is a former reporter for Alaska Dispatch News and Alaska Dispatch. She left the ADN in 2017.