(MENAFN – Swissinfo) In 1995, there were 87 species of mammals in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Currently there are 99. However, many species are still far from being in the forest.
This content is published March 23, 2021 – 14:54 March 23, 2021 – 14:54 Susan Misicka
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Published on Tuesday, the largest regional mammal survey to date described the return of larger animals, such as fish wolves and otters, as well as the discovery of a species of bat living in Switzerland. Yet light pollution is a serious threat to bats, and mammals such as field rabbits struggle to survive due to habitat loss in agricultural zones.
The 400-page mammal atlas, written by researchers from the Swiss Society for Wildlife Biology (SGW), represents the largest regional survey of mammals to date. It attracted more than a million observations such as sightings, tracks, ultrasounds, camera trap footage and even domestic cat prey. Some of the data comes from so-called citizen scientists.
‘It’s nearly impossible to get all this data without thousands of volunteers. I see great potential here, and it shows people’s interest, ‘said Roland Graf SGW on Tuesday, highlighting a project in which resident scientists monitor hedgehog activity over an area of 150 square kilometers.
Although the focus is on Switzerland and its eastern neighbor, Liechtenstein, the authors are also in regular contact with researchers in other European countries.
The general trend is that species will return. Golden wolves have even been seen in Norway! ‘Manuela von Arx, from Switzerland-based Carnivore Ecology and Wildlife Management (KORA), told swissinfo.ch. He noted that Switzerland’s offer of diverse habitats appeals to wildlife: mountains, forests and highlands.
‘There is still enough suitable habitat; many species are able to cope even with humans, ‘he said. “But smaller species have more problems.”
Hubert Krättli, director of the Bat Protection Foundation, points out that countries such as Slovenia and Germany are further than Switzerland when it comes to fighting light pollution.
‘Do we really need so much light all night? There are many local solutions, ” he stressed, such as turning off individual street lights. “Because bats can fly, they can move to new areas quickly.” Nearly a third of the book published by Haupt Verlag in Bern is dedicated to 30 species of bat in Switzerland.
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