- Lynx project – GHD 2020-2023
- Balkan Lynx Recovery Programme
- Completed projects
Luchs-Gems Projekt 2015-2018
IMPACT OF LYNX PREDATION AND HUNTING ON CHAMOIS
Beside the roe deer, the chamois is the most important prey species of lynx in Switzerland. In the frame of the North-western Alps Project III we detected that lynx predation is particularly concentrated on chamois fawns in summer and spring. In parts of Switzerland and the adjoining countries, chamois populations seem to have strongly declined in the last years. The exact causes of these observed decreases are, however, largely unknown. Unfavourable climatic conditions, disturbance through leisure activities, a too high hunting pressure, lynx predation or competition with other species (e. g. red deer) are mentioned as possible factors. In regions where the lynx is present and the chamois is hunted at the same time, the question arises, which impact both of these factors have on the development of the chamois population.
The aim of our project was to assess the impact of lynx predation and human hunting on chamois populations and compare it to other factors (e. g. winter mortality). The canton of Bern served as a case study. The results, however, should also be relevant for other regions.
To answer our research questions we chose three different approaches:
1) In the frame of a field study, lynx were radio collared in the Bernese Oberland between 2016 and 2018, in order to find as many of their killed prey animals as possible. At the same time, different chamois groups were observed in the same study area several times a year to estimate their annual growth rate. Furthermore, data on other mortality factors of chamois (e. g. disease, winter) and human caused factors (e. g. hunting, disturbance) were collected.
2) Data already available from hunting statistics and lynx monitoring were compiled. Based on this data, chamois population sizes in different wildlife management areas of the canton of Bern were reconstructed and compared with other regions (e. g. cantons without lynx presence). In this way, the long-term impact of lynx, hunting and other factors (e. g. climate) on chamois population dynamics could be estimated retrospectively.
3) With the help of theoretical population models, management scenarios can be simulated under different objectives and with different assumptions. These models can serve as a basis for decision-making, in order to optimise hunting management in areas of lynx presence, if needed.
Results and Publications
The results of the project were published in the following report:
- Vogt K., Signer S., Ryser A., Schaufelberger L., Nagl D., Breitenmoser U. & Willisch C. 2019. Einfluss von Luchsprädation und Jagd auf die Gämse – Teil 1 und 2. Bericht in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Jagdinspektorat des Kantons Bern. KORA Bericht Nr. 84. KORA, Muri bei Bern, Schweiz. 161 pp.
The lynx-chamois project was conducted parallel to the genetic lynx project and in agreement with the involved cantons and the local game wardens. The lynx part of the project was run by KORA and financed by a private foundation. The chamois part of the project was run by Dr. Christian Willisch and supported by the hunting inspectorate of the canton Bern, the Stotzer-Kästli-Foundation and the Zigerli-Hegi-Foundation.
Project duration: 2015-2018
Study area: North-western Alps
- Dr. Christian Willisch, FIWI, University of Bern
- Hunting inspectorate/game wardens canton Bern
- University of Basel
Contact KORA: Dr. Kristina Vogt