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News blog7 November 2023Directorate-General for Environment

Status and conservation of the alpine lynx population (SCALP) project

Lynx walking through snowy landscape
John Linnell

Implementation: 1995 - ongoing

Member States: Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Contact Organisation: KORA

Contact:  a [dot] molinariatkora [dot] ch (Anja Molinari-Jobin) (KORA)

More information: Project website

Target species: Lynx


The Status and Conservation of the Alpine Lynx Population (SCALP) was created in 1995 to survey the status of the lynx in the Alps, carry out monitoring activities in coordination between Alpine countries and close research gaps in the region. The project brings together a team of experts focused on compiling available data on lynx (in particular direct and indirect signs of presence) and standardising their interpretation. The goal was to provide an objective ground of discussion to facilitate the coordination of management measures between the different administrative and public entities in the Alpine region. SCALP has not only been compiling data required for the description of the conservation status of the lynx population, but has also been advancing the conceptual and methodological approach of transboundary monitoring, with the SCALP criteria. The main output of the project are the SCALP criteria (Category 1, 2 and 3) that classify species occurrence data according to their verifiability and are now commonly used for monitoring of all large carnivores.

Key actions:

  • Development of SCALP Criteria: Standardisation of data following a categorisation of species occurrence records, These records are evaluated on the basis of their verifiability and classified in three different categories:
    • Category 1 (C1): "Hard facts" or clear evidence verified and unchallenged observations that clearly verify the presence of the respective animal species (live capture, animal found dead, genetic evidence, photograph);
    • Category 2 (C2): Confirmed indications e.g. observations (track or kill) checked and confirmed by an experienced person either directly in the field or through photographs.
    • Category 3 (C3): Unconfirmed indications, all indications that could neither be confirmed nor ruled out through an experienced person due to insufficient information e.g. sightings (including by experienced persons) without proof in the form of a photograph, old indications, indications lacking documentation.
  • Regular monitoring reports for the Alps, the Dinarics and the Upper Rhine Metapopulation (Jura, Vosges, Palatinate Forest, Black Forest and adjacent regions) that include a spatial distribution map, trend and special events at annual intervals.
  • News about lynx research and lynx population dynamics.


SCALP introduced the first standardized population wide distribution mapping for the lynx. The SCALP criteria are now commonly used for classifying data not only for research on lynx, but have also been adopted for other large carnivores such as wolf and bear.


The SCALP project is presently supported by the Swiss Federal Office of Environment and the Stiftung Natur und Umwelt Rheinland-Pfalz.



Publication date
7 November 2023
Directorate-General for Environment

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