Present status and distribution of the Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx) in the Italian Alps
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Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso
Publish date: 2001-12-20
Hystrix It. J. Mamm. 2001;12(2)
Abstract To analyse the status and distribution of lynx in the Italian Alps from 1995 to 1999, all signs of lynx presence found were pooled, evaluated and interpreted with the same method. We distinguished three levels of reliability in accordance with the SCALP guidelines and the possibility to verify the collected data: Quality 1 (Q1) represent the hard facts, e.g. all reports of lynx killed, found dead or photographs and videos of lynx. Quality 2 (Q2) include all records of wild prey remains, livestock killed, tracks and scats confirmed by people who attended special courses, e.g. mainly game and forest wardens. Quality 3 (Q3) are all signs of presence reported by the general public as well as all sightings and vocalisations, e.g. mainly signs that cannot be verified. A total of 261 signs of lynx presence were recorded in the Italian Alps, of which 85 were Q2, the remaining were Q3 as no Q1 data was reported. The Q2 data was confined to four different areas whereas the Q3 data showed a scattered distribution in all the Alps. The dynamics in the Italian Alps during the past pentad was characterised by four main events: (1) the positive trend that had been observed in the north-east of Friuli V.G. (the Tarvisiano) up until 1995 decreased, but (2) at the same time an increased number of data was reported from north-east of the Veneto (Province of Belluno). Consequently, in the south-eastern Alps more data were collected over a bigger area than in the previous pentad. (3) The lynx occurrence of unknown origin in the Trentino has gone extinct again. And (4) the suspected presence of lynx in the Val d'Aosta and in the northernmost Piemonte (Val d'Ossola) was confirmed by Q2 data. In Italy, lynx still have not established a vital population even though suitable habitat is available from the south-western through to the eastern Alps. With the exception of the new occurrence in the province of Belluno, lynx occur only in areas bordering with Slovenia and Switzerland, where vital populations exist. Italy will play an important role for the future of the lynx in the Alps, as its territory connects the two vital populations from Slovenia and Switzerland.