Ibex, wild boars and red deer are thriving in Switzerland
The latest data from the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) shows that well-known Swiss animals like ibex and red deer are thriving once again in Switzerland.
Famous wild species now flourishing in Switzerland
The figures, made in collaboration with the hunting report done by Wildtier Schweiz, show that 76.695 wild animals were shot during the latest hunting season. The report uses hunting figures to estimate the total number of animals present in the wild by using the number of animals shot and number of animal sightings. The report confirms that the populations of wild boar, red deer, and ibex are increasing throughout Switzerland.
The ibex, once extinct in Switzerland, is seeing a huge rise in numbers. The FOEN hailed the ibex as a “success story,” as the number of sightings in 2020 was “a record since its extinction.” The FOEN explained that less snowy winters over the past three years have allowed the ibex to thrive, giving the animal greater access to food.
They also noted that fewer tourists in Swiss mountains and near Swiss lakes may have emboldened the animal to feed in more places. The species was reintroduced into Switzerland in 1920, and Pro Natura now estimates that there are over 17.000 Swiss ibexes in the wild.
While Swiss species are rising, foxes are declining
While the number of wild animals has increased, one of the most notable declines was that of local foxes. The report explained that hunters found a large amount of foxes dead of illness or old age in the wild. The number has also declined in Swiss cities, where the animal is usually a scavenger. 2020 was the second deadliest year for foxes since records began in 1968.
The hunting season from April 2020 to March 2021 was an average year for hunters, with the number of animals hunted being similar to the last five-year average. Switzerland uses these seasons to hunt game, used in Swiss restaurants and in many events throughout the country.
The sport has been heavily regulated by the government in order to make sure that new extinctions do not occur. It is hoped that alongside the hunters, the scheme by Wildtier will give us greater insight into how native Swiss species are thriving.