Photo: Foto Matevz Lavric/Shutterstock

Switzerland Relaxes Ibex Trophy Hunting Rules, Stirring Controversy

News Wildlife Switzerland
Photo: Foto Matevz Lavric/Shutterstock
Eben Diskin
Nov 6, 2019

In a controversial new measure, trophy hunters are now allowed to hunt ibex in the mountains of the Swiss regions of Valais and Graubünden. Valais, which issues a number of ibex hunting licenses, will also allow foreigners to participate in the hunting, while Graubünden only allows locals to hunt. A license to shoot a male ibex, with three-foot horns, costs $13,113, but as ibex trophies yield high profits, the permit costs haven’t deterred hunters. Each year, Valais awards up to 120 one-day ibex hunting licenses, which brings in around $655,000 to the region.

Ibex hunting is extremely popular, as the animal is viewed as a symbol of the Alps.

Allowing ibex hunting is controversial, however, as the species is rare and in need of conservation. There are an estimated 40,000 ibex in the Alps, and around 450 are shot each year in Valais, and 500 in Graubünden.

Professor Ulf Büntgen of the Swiss environmental research institute WSL said, “Switzerland’s strictly regulated hunting is conserving the population — in Graubünden they are very careful about which animals are harvested, and where.”

Jonas Schmid, a spokesperson for the conservation group WWF Switzerland, argued that, “Protection of species cannot be regarded as an argument to support trophy hunting in Switzerland,” and that hunting in Valais proves “that politically the cantons should not be given even more powers over the hunting system.”

The WWF and other conservation groups are collecting signatures on a petition with the aim of holding a referendum on the matter.

What did you think of this story?

More on


Zermatt Is the Holy Grail of Ski Towns, With Some of Europe's Best Alpine Skiing

This Scenic Railway Is the Most Epic Way To Explore the Swiss Alps

In Switzerland, Cows Parade Down Mountains in Flower Crowns

These Swiss Hot Springs Will Help You Unwind Like Nowhere Else

The Remote Valle Verzasca Swimming Hole in Switzerland Is Worth the Journey

This Swiss Hotel Offers Unparalleled Mountain Vistas

You Need To Put This Gorgeous Lake on Your Switzerland Summer Itinerary

Don't Look Down! This Epic Climb in the Swiss Alps Is Mostly Terrifying -- but Also Worth It.

Experience Nature and Comfort in the Swiss Alps at the Cambrian Adelboden Hotel

You Can Hot Tub Inside an Igloo at This Swiss Ice Hotel

Save Bookmark

We use cookies for analytics tracking and advertising from our partners. For more information read our privacy policy.