Genetic analysis: Hunting wolves in a Swiss laboratory


Wolves returned to Switzerland more than 20 years ago, but the debate about their presence doesn’t show the slightest sign of abating among politicians or the media. While talking about these animals is easy, it’s much harder working out their movements and exact numbers.

Observing wolves is difficult, capturing them almost impossible. The study of how their populations evolve is based on the genetic analysis of the traces they leave behind, for example hair, excrement and saliva.

This is the far-from-simple task that Luca Fumagalli, director of the Laboratory for Conservation Biologyexternal link at the University of Lausanne, has been carrying out for the past 15 years on behalf of the Federal Office for the Environmentexternal link.

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