MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Canada lynx kitten made his first small steps into his habitat at the Minnesota Zoo this week, just in time for Thursday’s celebration of International Cat Day.

(credit: Minnesota Zoo)

Zoo officials say the kitten made his debut Wednesday on the Medtronic Minnesota Trail, climbing across tree limbs and scoping out the habitat’s stream.

While the kitten was born in May, it was being cared for behind the scenes by its mother. Zoo officials say both mom and kitten are doing well.

Guests to the zoo in Apple Valley might have to pause at the Medtronic Minnesota Trail to see the kitten, as he is still a bit cautious about his new environment.

The exhibit now features three lynx: an adult male, an adult female and the kitten.

According to the Minnesota DNR, lynx were once hunted and trapped in Minnesota. They are now considered a threatened species and protected under law.

Zoo officials say that Minnesota once boasted the largest number of Canada lynx in the Great Lakes region, but the number of lynx plummeted to near zero in the 1980s. They’ve only just begun to show signs of recovery.