Arnold Walter

Einfluss von Wintersportlern auf die Nutzung der Wintereinstände von Rothirschen Cervus elaphus und Gämsen Rupicapra rupicapra in der Val S-charl

Project Number: CH-6041
Project Type: Master
Project Duration: 01/03/2015 - 01/03/2016
Funding Source: other ,
Leading Institution: Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien, BOKU Wien
Project Leader: Dr. Walter Arnold
Department für Integrative Biologie und Evolution
Forschungsinstitut für Wildtierkunde und Ökologie
Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
Savoyenstraße 1
AT-1160 Wien
Phone: +43 (1) 25077 - 7100
e-Mail: walter.arnold(at)

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Wildlife has different strategies to survive harsh winters in the alps. Eventually, it all comes down to save energy through physiological and behavioural adaptions. The growing rates of winter outdoor sports activities are indicating that there is a potential of more conflicts between humans and wildlife in the future which can lead to a fatal loss of energy by the animals during the wintertime. It is unclear if and how the higher stress rates will change the behaviour of wild- life.
In this study, the tracks of skitouring (freeriders) have been recorded with GPS-Dataloggers during the winter 2015 in S-charl, a small valley in the Swiss Alps along the border of the Swiss National Park. The tracks are related with a habitat suitability map, developed with the software MAXENT, to estimate the loss of good habitat for chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) and red deer (Cervus elaphus) caused by skitouring in the area. Further, with ArcGIS the distances of ob- served animal locations in S-charl to shelter providing structures have been compared with the distances from animal locations to covering structures within the Swiss National Park, where no winter activities are allowed.
The analysis of the models calculated 22% of the study site as good and 67% as suitable habi- tat for chamois and as for red deer the area consists of 14% good and 21% suitable habitat. Of 1371 kilometer logged freeride routes, 21% where leading through potentially good habitat for chamois and through 14% good habitat for red deer. Extensive activity of winter sports in the area can lead to a loss of 8% of good habitat for chamois and 3% of good habitat for red deer. The locations of the observed chamois in S-charl to rocky structures have a mean distance of 106 meters (SD 117.1) compared to the mean distance of locations of animals within the Na- tional Park to rocky structures of 93 meters (SD 88.5). As for red deer in S-charl the mean dis- tance of observed locations in the open field to the edge of forest is 48 meters (SD 43.2) com- pared to the mean distance of 33 meters (SD16.8) of animal locations to shelter in the National Park. Non of the distances of the two sites are significantly different (chamois p=0.446, red deer p=0.309).
Conflicts between wildlife and freeriders are unavoidable and will take place regularly in S-charl. But with an average of one or two tours a day, the pressure for the wildlife could be classified as not very high. The results indicate that the observed animals show rather a habituation towards the freeriders than a sensitization.


Keller, Roman 2016. Einfluss von Wintersportlern auf die Nutzung der Wintereinstände von Rothirschen Cervus elaphus und Gämsen Rupicapra rupicapra in der Val S-charl. Masterarbeit. Universität für Bodenkultur, Wien.

PDF Masterarbeit

Last update: 5/29/20
Source of data: ProClim- Research InfoSystem (1993-2020)
Update the data of project: CH-6041

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