Present status and distribution of the Lynx in the Swiss Alps
 
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Publish date: 2001-12-20
 
Hystrix It. J. Mamm. 2001;12(2)
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ABSTRACT
Abstract To evaluate the population trend of lynx in the Swiss Alps, we analysed the spatial and numerical development of signs of presence found from 1995 to 1999 and compared them with previous years. Three sources of information on the presence of lynx are available: (1) reports of lynx killed or found dead; (2) records of livestock killed by lynx; (3) records of wild prey remains, tracks, scats, sightings, and vocalisations. We distinguished three levels of reliability: Quality 1 represent the hard facts, e.g. all reports of lynx killed or found dead, photographs of lynx as well as young orphaned lynx caught in the wild and taken into captivity. Quality 2 include all records of livestock killed, wild prey remains, tracks and scats reported by people who have attended special courses, e.g. mainly game wardens. Quality 3 are all wild prey remains and tracks reported by the general public as well as all sightings, scats and vocalisations, e.g. signs that cannot be verified. More than 1600 signs of presence were recorded in the Swiss Alps in this 5-year-period. A high number of quality 1 and 2 records showed that (1) the lynx population in the north-western Swiss Alps increased from 1994 to 1999, that (2) there is a moderate presence of the species in the central and south-western parts and (3) none or hardly any lynx are found in the eastern Alps of Switzerland. Based on a radio-telemetry study and the number of quality 2 data, we were able to estimate the number of lynx in the Swiss Alps at 70 individuals. To counterpart the uneven distribution of lynx in Switzerland, lynx are being translocated from the north-western Alps to the eastern Swiss Alps, as the expansion of the Swiss lynx population is crucial for the conservation of the lynx in the whole Alps.
eISSN:1825-5272
ISSN:0394-1914