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Report observation

Chance observations

A lynx descends from a snow-covered wall. To his left is a yellow sign with the inscription: Watch out for the train! Automatic operation.
Chance observation in the Jura mountains of a lynx about to cross the train tracks, 2013. © Laurent Geslin

The general public is a huge and important source of information. Every day, a lot of people are on the move in Switzerland. Even at a low carnivore density, there are regular instances of someone directly seeing a carnivore or finding a field sign of one. There is a variety of observations that can be made: direct sighting, vocalisations, tracks, scat, hairs or killed animals. Nowadays, practically everybody is permanently carrying a camera. Consequently, it occurs more and more often that large carnivores are photographed and filmed.

Chance observations are an important addition to the data collected opportunistically or according to a standardised protocol. They help to determine the distribution and occurrence of large carnivores. Collecting such information can offer important hints on new developments in the population.

KORA collects reports on observations and indications of the presence of lynx, wolf, bear, golden jackal and wildcat. Such observations can be reported here. For each report, we record information on the observer (expertise), date, location and coordinates of the observation, as well as information on the circumstances of the observation.

Incoming reports are evaluated according to their validity and verification possibility and divided into three categories (see SCALP categories), checked for special features (e.g. occurrence outside the known distribution), and entered into the specific database. In each case, additional measures might be taken (e.g. opportunistic camera-trapping) to gather more information and/or to confirm the report with more evidence.

In the case of lynx images, KORA attempts to individually identify the lynx, in accordance with the respective canton. Depending on the image quality, this is unfortunately not always possible. If the lynx can be identified, this is reported back to the observer. In the case of records of tracks, scats or kills, images should be taken and an object of known size should be included in the image for size comparison.

If an animal is found dead, or a juvenile is found to be orphaned, the respective game warden should be informed too. The game warden will then take care of the proceedings.

Observations should be reported continuously and promptly. This enables timely actions (if deemed necessary), as well as timely analysis and presentation of the data.

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