RowAlps: Recovery of wolf and lynx in the Alps: Options for transboundary
conservation and management

Responsible scientists: Dr. Klaus Pukall, Sybille Woelfl and Katharina Mikschl

Runtime: 04/2012 - 12/2014

Funding: MAVA Foundation

Project description

Wolf (Canis lupus) and lynx (Lynx lynx) return to the Alps and cause conflicts with traditional land use practices, mainly livestock husbandry and hunting. Although these species are legally protected, management interventions are needed to mitigate conflicts and reach conservation goals. As viable and accepted populations of wolf and lynx will need spread across several Alpine countries, transboundary cooperation is indispensable. The Alpine countries have, in the frame of the Alpine Convention, created the Platform WISO (Wildlife & Society) to address pan-Alpine challenges in wildlife conservation. The Goal of this project is to present practical conservation and management options for wolf and lynx in the Alps respecting the WISO Guidelines to ministers of the Alpine Conference in 2014.

The project has the three following objectives:

Objective 1. To model the potential distribution and expected abundance at biological/ecological fringes (minimal viable population MVP versus carrying capacity (Ke)) of future Alpine wolf and lynx populations.

Objective 2. To describe acceptance levels (Ka) for lynx and wolf for different
stakeholder groups and to identify factors defining the acceptance and the potential measures to influence these factors.

Objective 3. To synthesise biological/ecological and socio-economic findings into a “coexistence model” (management scenarios for the recovery and conservation of viable wolf and lynx populations in the Alps), and present/discuss this model to/with stakeholders and decision makers.

The Chair of Forest and Environmental Policy together with the group Social Sciences in Landscape Research (WSL, Switzerland) is responsible for the fullfillment of objective 2. The WSL is performing a meta analysis of existing (quantitativ) studies regarding large canivores. The TUM is following a qualitative approach: 

  • Review of documents of agricultural systems in Alpine countries.
  • Interviews (20) with experts of agricultural systems (3-4 experts per country) and with farmers (10) in three different regions in German Alps. Experts are chosen from agricultural associations, from agricultural administrations, technical agricultural bodies and universities.
  • Workshops (2) with experts from hunting administrations and hunting associations in two regions (SLO-IT-AT and F-CH-IT)
  • Workshop (1) with social scientists of Alpine countries to review and validate achieved results and to identify gaps of knowledge to propose further studies.



Mikschl, K.; Pukall, K. (2013): Die Rückkehr der Wölfe in die Alpen. In: Verein zum Schutz der Bergwelt (Hrsg.): Jahrbuch 2013. München: 109-120.

Wagner, K.; Wölfl, S.; Suda, M. (2013): Großbeutegreifer als Stressoren in Landnutzungssystemen. In: König, A.; Brün, J.; Janko, C. (Hrsg.): Wildbiologische Forschungsberichte: Zwei Tagungsbeiträge Wildtiere und Industriegesellschaft (2011 in Freising) Wildtiere in Raum und Zeit (2012 in Bonn). Remagen: 141-151.

Pukall, K.; Mikschl, K. (2016): Managementoptionen für Großbeutegreifer im Alpenraum – ein 3-Ebenen-Konzept. In: König, A.; Hohmann, U.; Ebert, C.; Mitschke J. (Hrsg.): Wildbiologische Forschungsberichte: Zwei Tagungsbeiträge: Wildtiere in einer sich wandelnden Umwelt (2014 in Freising); Große Pflanzenfresser, große Karnivoren, große Schutzgebiete (2016 in Trippstadt). Remagen: 104-116 (Beitrag in Englisch)