Ibex population hits record high in Switzerland

An ibex pictured close to the village of Pontresina in southeastern Switzerland © Keystone / Gian Ehrenzeller

After a slump in snowy 2018, the number of ibex has increased again and 2020 saw “a record since their extinction in Switzerland”, according to the Federal Office for the Environment.

This content was published on August 23, 2021 - 15:11

The Alpine ibex, a wild mountain goat, was re-introduced to national parks in the 1920s after it was hunted to extinction in the 19th century. Last year there were 18,947 ibex in the country, according to annual hunting statisticsExternal link published on Monday. The government described this as a “success story”.

While the numbers of ibex, wild boar and red deer continued to grow, those of roe deer and chamois remained stable, the environment office said.

“Less pleasing”, however, was the high number of foxes found dead from disease, old age and weakness – the second-highest number since measurements began in 1968. Mange and distemper were rampant in certain regions of Switzerland, it explained.

Last year 76,695 wild hoofed animals were killed in Switzerland, which corresponded to the five-year average. The hunting year for 2020 ran from the beginning of April 2020 to the end of March 2021 in most cantons.

The number of wild boar shot dead increased to 8,313 in 2020 – almost double the 4,263 boar killed in 2011. The latest hunting statistics also recorded that 13,935 red deer were killed in 2020, up from 9,462 ten years ago.

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