Management of lynx orphans in Switzerland, 1981–2019: a case study

Borel, Stéphanie; Ryser, Andreas; Batista Linhares, Mainity; Molinari-Jobin, Anja; Ryser-Degiorgis, Marie-Pierre (2022). Management of lynx orphans in Switzerland, 1981–2019: a case study. Journal of wildlife rehabilitation, 42(1), pp. 7-24. International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council

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ABSTRACT: The management of orphaned
lynx since species reintroduction in Switzerland
has been very challenging, including
both animal welfare and conservation issues.
We analyzed data on 120 presumptive
orphans (75 found alive and 45 found dead)
and described the fate of live individuals
taken to a wildlife care center. We assessed
the following management options of
free-ranging orphaned lynx, which have
been successively applied in Switzerland
from 1981 to 2019: placement in a zoo,
culling, rehabilitation, and feeding in the
wild. Out of 42 animals taken to captivity, 18
(42.9%) died before placement or release.
Deaths were related to pre-existent health
impairments and, in a few cases, to captivityrelated
injuries. Of eight released orphans,
all survived the first month, three the first
year, and two reached reproduction age.
Lynx orphan management has been driven
by the current political situation in Switzerland.
Based on this study, we can make
two recommendations: 1) it is absolutely
necessary to pre-establish procedures and
define clear responsibilities; and 2) if the
option chosen implies captivity, it is crucial to
identify a suitable infrastructure in advance,
with competent staff who can respond to all
needs of individuals, whether for a temporary
or permanent stay.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP)
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP) > Center for Fish and Wildlife Health (FIWI)

UniBE Contributor:

Borel, Stéphanie, Batista Linhares, Mainity, Ryser, Marie Pierre


600 Technology > 630 Agriculture
500 Science
500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council




Katharina Gerber-Paizs

Date Deposited:

25 Mar 2022 12:14

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 16:16

Uncontrolled Keywords:

animal care, captivity, conservation, Felidae, health, Lynx lynx, management, outcome, rehabilitation.




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