Survey of the Lynx distribution in the French Alps: 2000–2004 population status analysis


  • E. Marbountin
  • C. Duchamp
  • P. Rouland
  • Y. Léonard
  • J. Boyer
  • D. Michallet
  • M. Catusse
  • P. Migot
  • J. M. Vandel
  • P. Stahl



Lynx lynx, France, Alps, distribution, monitoring, population viability


Within the SCALP framework, the status of the pan-alpine population of Eurasian Lynx is assessed every 5 years, based on the compilation of national reports and standardized classification of lynx presence signs according to data confidence levels (C1, C2, C3). From2000 to 2004, the French national network of lynx experts collected N= 393 data, out of which 224 (compared to only 69 in 1995–1999) were considered as robust enough to evidence the presence of lynx (C1 = 1%; C2 = 42%; C3 = 57%) and were used for further analysis. A majority of the signs concerned the northern part of the Alps, however, in mostly two regions (Chartreuse/Epine: 34% of the signs; Maurienne: 21%). Other data were more scattered over space, from the Cha- blais region close to Switzerland down to the Haut-Verdon close to the Mercantour mountains. A negative trend was noticed from north to south in proportions of best quality signs(C1+C2), and a positive one in low quality ones – C3 – (c² = 3.56, 1 df, p = 0.06), which could point at some methodological artefacts. Discarding C3 may however be too conservative a strategy to assess the species range and status. Using spatial recurrence and trend over time of all signs available (C1+C2+C3) could, therefore, provide the right balance between being too much versus not enough conservative. – When doing so, the area with lynx signs regularly detected sharply increased between 1996–1998 (100 km²), 1999–2001(250 km²), and 2002–2004 (1195 km²). The latter area is still quite small regarding what is required for a viable large carnivore population.A simple demographic model suggested that even a quite moderate proportion of immigrants (e.g. dispersal inflow from neighbouring coreareas – French Jura or Swiss Alps) could considerably decrease the theoretical demographic extinction risk of such a small population, but stilldepending upon adult survival rates, which also strongly influenced the extinction risk. The factors that may influence this sensitivity analysis(such as habitat connectivity and management of wooded corridors) should be evaluated within the Scalp framework.


BASILLE, M. 2004: Le Lynx, l’ENFA, et le SIG. Msc. report, Univ. Lyon C. Bernard.


BREITENMOSER 2001: Untersuchungen zur Luchspopulation in den Nordwestalpen der Schweiz 1997–2000. KORA-Bericht 9: 1–88.

HALLER, H. & U. BREITENMOSER 1986: Zur Raumorganisation der in den Schweizer Alpen wiederan- gesiedelten Population des Luchses (Lynx lynx). Z. Säugetierkunde 51: 289–311.

HIRZEL, A., J. HAUSSER, D. CHESSEL & N. PERRIN 2002: Ecological-niche factor analysis: how to compute habitat suitability maps without absence data? Ecology 83: 2027–2036. DOI:[2027:ENFAHT]2.0.CO;2

KLAR, N., M. HERMANN & S. KRAMER-SCHADT 2006: Effects of roads on a founder population of lynx in the biosphere reserve “Pfälzerwald-Vosges du Nord”. Natureschutz und Landschaftsplanung 38: 330–337.

LEGENDRE, S. & J. CLOBERT 1995: ULM, a software for conservation and evolutionnary biologists. J. Appl. Stat. 22: 817–834. DOI:

MOLINARI-JOBIN, A., P. MOLINARI, C. BREITENMOSER-WÜRSTEN, M. WOELFL, C. STANISA, M. FASEL, P. STAHL, J.M. VANDEL, L. ROTELLI, P. KACZENSKY, T. HUBER, M. ADAMIC, I. KOREN & U. BREITENMOSER 2003: Pan-Alpine Conservation Strategy for the Lynx. Nature and environment 130, Council of Europe Publishing, 20 pp.

MARBOUTIN, E., A. LAURENT, C. REGAZZI, F. LÉGER, P. MOISSON, M. LAMBRECH, L. BALESTRA, J.P. HENRI, M. BASILLE, L. TOUZAIN & D. MICHALLET 2005: Tests de nouvelles méthodes pour le suivi des po- pulations de Lynx en France: le piégeage photographique en coulées et les pièges à poils. Oncfs Rapport Scientifique 2004: 18–21.

MOLINARI-JOBIN, A. 2005: Proceedings of the 2nd conference on the Status and Conservation of the Alpine Lynx Population, 7th to 9th May 2003, Amden Switzerland. Environmental encounters 58: 1–105.

SCHADT, S. 2002: Scenarios assessing the viability of a lynx population in Germany. Ph-D thesis, Univ. Munich, 116p.

SCHADT, S., REVILLA E., WIEGAND T., KNAUER F., KACZENSKI P. & BREITENMOSER U. 2002: Assessing the suitability of central European landscapes for the reintroduction of Eurasian lynx. Journal of Applied Ecology 39: 189–203. DOI:

VANDEL J.M. & P. STAHL 2005: Distribution trend of the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) populations in France. Mammalia 69 (2): 145–158. DOI:

VON ARX M., C. BREITENMOSER-WÜRSTEN, F. ZIMMERMANN & U. BREITENMOSER 2004: Status and conservation of the Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx) in Europe in 2001. KORA report Nr. 19.

WIEGAND T., REVILLA E. & KNAUER F. 2004: Dealing with uncertainty in spatially explicit population models. Biodiversity and Conservation 13: 53–78. DOI:

ZIMMERMANN, F. 2004: Conservation of the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) in a fragmented landscape – habitat models, dispersal, and potential distribution. Ph-D thesis, Univ. Lausanne, 179p.

ZIMMERMANN, F., C. BREITENMOSER- WÜRSTEN & U. BREITENMOSER 2005: Natal dispersal of Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx) in Switzerland. Journal of Zoology, London 267: 381–395. DOI:

ZIMMERMANN, F., A. MOLINARI-JOBIN, P. MOLINARI, A. SIEGENTHALER & U. BREITENMOSER 2006: Bericht zum Luchs-Monitoring mittels Fotofallen in den Nordwestalpen und der Zentralschweiz West im Winter 2005/06. KORA –Berichte.






Original Research Paper

How to Cite

Marbountin, E., Duchamp, C., Rouland , P., Léonard, Y., Boyer, J., Michallet, D., Catusse, M., Migot, P., Vandel, J. M., & Stahl, P. (2006). Survey of the Lynx distribution in the French Alps: 2000–2004 population status analysis. Acta Biologica Slovenica, 49(1), 19-26.

Similar Articles

1-10 of 68

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.