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Status of large carnivore populations in Europe 2012-2016

Several assessments of large carnivore status exist. Since different surveying and monitoring methods are used in different countries, some uncertainty remains and population ranges are given.

IUCN assessment of population figures (2012-16)

In 2012 the conservation status of European large carnivores was assessed by a group of experts from each country where large carnivores are present. This information has been recently updated for 2012-16 (see the LCIE website for more information). Although the available data and the methodology used varied greatly from country to country, the information presented below represents the best available independent assessment of large carnivore status.

Continental Europe (excluding Russia and Belarus) is home to 1,000-1,250 wolverines (600 to 800 in the EU), 8,000-9,000 Eurasian lynx (7,000 to 8,000 in the EU), 17,000 brown bears (15,000 to 16,000 in the EU) and 17,000 wolves (13,000 to 14,000 in the EU). The 32 populations comprise of between some tens of individuals up to several thousands, crossing several borders of up to five EU countries.

Brown bear – Ursus arctos

Bear map
Population name Countries Size (2012-2016) Trend
Scandinavian Norway, Sweden 2,825 Decreasing
Karelian Norway, Finland 1,660 Stable
Baltic Estonia, Latvia 700 Stable
Carpathian Romania, Poland, Slovakia, Serbia 7,630 Stable
Dinaric-Pindos Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", Albania, Serbia, Greece 3,950 Stable-Increasing
Alpine Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia 49-69 Stable-Increasing
Eastern Balkan Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia 468-665 Stable
Central Apennine Italy 45-69 Stable
Cantabrian Spain 321-335 Increase
Pyrenean France, Spain 30 Stable

Wolf – Canis lupus

Wolf map
Population name Countries Size (2012-2016) Trend
Scandinavian Norway, Sweden c. 430 Increase
Karelian Finland c. 200 Stable to increase
Baltic Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland 1,700 - 2,240 Stable
Central European lowlands Germany, Poland 780-1,030 Increase
Carpathian Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Serbia 3,460-3,849 Stable
Dinaric-Balkan Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", Albania, Serbia (incl. Kosovo*), Greece, Bulgaria c. 4,000 Unknown
Alps Italy, France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia 420-550 Increase
Italian peninsula Italy 1,100-2,400 Slightly increasing
NW Iberian Spain, Portugal 2,500 (estimate from 2007) Unknown
Sierra Morena Spain 0 Extinct

Eurasian lynx – Lynx lynx

Lynx map
Population name Countries Size (2012-2016) Trend
Scandinavian Norway, Sweden 1,300-1,800 Decline
Karelian Finland 2,500 Stable
Baltic Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine 1,200-1,600 Slight Decrease
Bohemian-Bavarian-Austrian Czech Republic, Germany, Austria 60-80 Stable
Carpathian Romania, Slovakia, Poland, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria 2,100-2,400 Stable
Alpine Switzerland, Slovenia, Italy, Austria, France 163 Slowly increasing
Jura France, Switzerland 140 Slowly increasing
Vosges Palatinian France, Germany 1-3 Decline
Dinaric Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina 130 Stable or decrease
Harz mountains Germany 46 Slowly increasing
Balkan "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", Albania, Serbia (incl. Kosovo*) 20-40 Stable

Wolverine – Gulo gulo

Wolverine map
Population name Countries Size (2012-2016) Trend
Scandinavian Norway, Sweden 800-1,000 Fluctuating, recently decreasing
Karelian Finland 200-250 Slowly increasing

Member State assessment of population figures 2013-18

The article 17 of the Habitats Directive requires every member state to report every six years about progress made on implementation of the directive. The focus of the reporting process is to capture the status and trends of protected habitat types and species. Member states are responsible for the collection of data and the production of their national report. Results for the last assessment of conservation status can be searched by country, biogeographic region and species name in the Eionet platform and are published in the State of Nature in the EU 2020.

Species Brown Bear Wolf Eurasian Lynx Wolverine
Range 16 Countries 20 Countries 19 Countries 2 Countries:
Sweden and Finland
Number of regional assessments 26 45 33 4
Ordered by conservation status* FV: 13
U1: 8
U2: 4
NA: 1
FV: 20
XX: 3
U1: 12
U2: 3
NA: 7
FV: 7
XX: 7
U1: 10
U2: 7
NA: 2
FV: 1
U1: 3
Total population 15,000 – 18,000 individuals 11,000 – 17,000 individuals 8,000 – 9,000 individuals 80,000 – 140,000 occupied 1x1km grids

* FV - Favourable NA - Not reported XX - Unknown U1 - Unfavourable inadequate U2 - Unfavourable bad

The population status of large carnivores for 2010-12 can be viewed here.

More information on the methodology for the 2012 update is available here: