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Lynx project – GHD 2020-2023

Lynx conservation in Switzerland: genetics, health and demography

A lynx carries her young one across a forest road.
Lynx with young. © Michiel van den Bergh/WWF

Every reintroduced Eurasian lynx population in Western and Central Europe is small, isolated and threatened from loss of genetic diversity. Additionally, lynx in the Alps but also in the Jura mountains increasingly show a heart murmur that could be connected with genetic factors. Long-term datasets are extremely important in researching demographic, genetic and health questions in order to detect developments over several lynx generations. In recent years, we were able to profit from ongoing lynx projects to examine captured lynx (see Lynx genetics project). However, in order to assess the status of the lynx population in Switzerland as a whole, further foundations urgently need to be laid.


The goal of our project is to better understand the influence of genetics, health and demography on the conservation status of the Swiss lynx population and to develop specific recommendations for the long-term genetic management.


The project will include data which has been gathered in other projects by KORA or in the framework of the camera trap monitoring, and from lynx found dead. Additionally, we will capture lynx for veterinary examination and to collect blood samples for genetic analyses. Female lynx will be equipped with radio collars to observe their reproductive success. The survival of the juveniles will be surveyed with camera traps.

Project information

The lynx project – GHD is performed in agreement with the cantonal hunting offices and the local game wardens. The coordination of the genetics and demography parts of the project lies with KORA, and the part focused on health, with the Centre for Fish and Wildlife Health (FIWI). We are looking for cooperation with other lynx projects in Europe wherever possible. The project is financially supported by a charitable foundation in the Principality of Liechtenstein and the Haldimann Foundation.

Project duration: 2020-2023

Study area: whole of Switzerland

Project partners Genetics:

  • Institute of Genetics (Dr. Cord Drögemüller), VetSuisse Faculty, University of Bern
  • Dr. Gabriela Obexer-Ruff, Swissuniversities, Bern
  • Dr. Carsten Nowak, Senckenberg Research Institute, Division Conservation Genetics

Project partners Health:

  • Prof. Dr. Marie-Pierre Ryser-Degiorgis, FIWI, University of Bern
  • Dr. Iris Marti, FIWI, University of Bern
  • Prof. Dr. Regina Hoffman, Department for clinical diagnostics and services, University of Zurich

Contact KORA: Dr. Christine Breitenmoser-Würsten & Dr. Kristina Vogt

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