Southern Water Shrew

Nahaufnahme von einem Fischotter

The Southern Water Shrew (Neomys anomalus) is classified as critically endangered in Switzerland.

In the western Central Plateau and Jura, this species became extinct more than 20 years ago. The few known records come mainly from the subalpine region. In the Bernese Oberland, only two more recent records are known, in the neighbouring canton of Lucerne only one. Thanks to the nature conservation franc, it is now possible to investigate where Southern Water Shrews actually live in the vicinity of the known sites. In a second step, various measures will be implemented at these sites to potentially improve their habitat. These include, for example, the promotion of insects, spiders and other invertebrates in wet habitats, the construction of stone walls and piles as hiding places and the placement of rootstocks near water bodies. These various upgrades will be checked with accompanying monitoring (evidence of or use by Southern Water Shrews). Based on this, further promotion activities are planned and implemented in neighbouring areas.


  • Knowledge about the actual population of the Southern Water Shrew in the canton of Bern
  • Promotion through targeted habitat enhancements
  • Raising awareness among the local population
Nahaufnahme von einer Sumpfspitzmaus
Eine Sumpfspitzmaus schaut in die Kamera
Photo: ©Vilda / Rollin Verlinde

This step-by-step approach is necessary because no species-specific support projects for the Southern Water Shrew are described in the scientific literature and generally little knowledge is available about the biology of the species, especially its habitat requirements.

In order to obtain additional information from the samples collected during monitoring, cooperation with a scientific institution such as the Senkenberg Museum Frankfurt or the University of Neuchâtel is sought. Both institutions already have experience in the field of small mammals, and initial contacts have been established.

The project to promote the highly endangered Southern Water Shrew in the Bernese Oberland is a lighthouse project that shows how shrew promotion can lead to habitats rich in structures and insects and thus increase biodiversity in an area as a whole.

Seitenansicht einer Sumpfspitzmaus
Photo: ©Vilda / Rollin Verlinde
Seitenansicht einer Sumpfspitzmaus
Photo: ©Vilda / Rollin Verlinde


  • Southern Water Shrew
  • Insects
  • Spiders
  • Other invertebrates

What we use your nature conservation francs (Naturschutzfranken) for

  • Population surveys of the Southern Water Shrew in the Bernese Oberland
  • Establishment of a monitoring system
  • Planning and implementing promotional measures to enrich structural diversity


Logo vom Verein zooschweiz
Logo der European Association of Zoos and Aquaria
Logo vom Verband der Zoologischen Gärten
Logo der World Association of Zoos and Aquariums