The Italian Alps cover an area of consists of 13.2% of the whole of the alps though the alps cover 60% of the country an area of around 25,000 square km, which is nearly 15,000 square miles. As in other countries within the Alps, the common species to be spotted include the Ibex and the Chamois
In Switzerland the big predators where also ruthlessly hunted. In one area they recently had vote on the future of hunting in the Canton (essentially a county) of Zurich- the population voted 84% against. In a country with such beautiful scenery, it should not be a surprise that there are so many people supporting outdoor sports.
However, any hunting should be kept at levels low enough that the ecosystem can continue to recover from its artificially low start point. Once again, if visitors make it clear that they are there to see the wildlife, it will give it a higher financial value.
Wolves have returned to Switzerland, in recent years, and there are now thought to be about 80 living within the country. As with other largely Alpine countries, Switzerland is a country in which the wolf would flourish without human persecution, and so the population has been growing fast. They crossed the border from Italy about the same time that they crossed into France. As such in the last 25 years they have not managed to increase in number as much as they have in France. Current predictions suggest a wolf population of around 300 in 2030. Though initially causing significant problems to the local sheperds by returning to old methods like having dogs live with the sheep, this habit has largely been bought under control. Certainly a country where wolf tourism should encourage a more positive view of the animals that share the mountains with their sheep. Currently, wolves who are proved to be killing sheep can be killed, though the population is looking to relax the protection of wolves. If this happened we would likely see the wolf becoming extinct within Switzerlands borders once again.
There is not a permanent population of bears within Switzerland. A number of individuals have wandered across the border over the last decade, unfortunately each has either left on its own accord, or been killed reasonably quickly. With an increase of wildlife tourism, and natural adaption (much of which is needed for the now present wolves) we can hope that in the next few decades space is made for the bear to return in a more permanent capacity.
There are only thought to be about 150 lynx, which unfortunately is a similar story to France. The Jura mountains where lynx were reintroduced in the 1970s run along the border between the two countries.
As with other countries that house part of the Alps, adapting to share the this landscape with predators once more, has not been easy, however a steady flow of tourists that are looking to experience this wildlife, will likely help greatly in changing this mindset.
Other wildlife to look out for in the Switzerland alps include red deer, and for birders, Golden eagles and bearded vultures still call these mountains home.
The map below shows place within Switzerland that are available to stay. Zoom in on specific areas to see more places available.