The mammalian order of the carnivores is distributed over the whole world and is comprised of 11 families with about 270 species total. In Switzerland 14 species from five families have been recorded so far. They are very different in their appearance: from the least weasel at 35 grams body weight to the brown bear which can weigh up to 350 kg. Carnivores stand at the top end of the food chain and play an essential role in the ecosystem.
Bear, wolf, lynx and otter were eradicated from Switzerland by the early 20th Century. But these predators never lost their fascinating charisma. Today most people are aware of the priceless value of biodiversity and support its protection. This change of mind along with the current increase of prey populations has enabled the return of the large carnivores in Switzerland. Today, however, anthropogenic factors such as habitat destruction, water pollution, urban sprawl in the Central Plateau and fragmentation of the landscape by roads have a negative impact on our wildlife.
In this section you can find short portraits of all our native carnivore species.