Investigation of the wolf population biology (general information)

Since 1999 I have shifted own efforts on the study on the wolf Canis lupus population ecology.  In 1996-1998 in Paazierre Forest (mainly in the Lovat terrain), the northern Belarus  there were fulfilled studies on the wolf diet in relation to the dramatic changes in the preystock and on breeding in wolves. The research on the question of the species breeding had been continued there until 2005.  However,  since 2000 the main study area on wolves has been replaced in Naliboki Forest and its rural-forest surroundings.  The species reproduction and breeding behaviour have become the main pressing questions of my zoological study.

By  June 2017,  72 dens with pups were discovered altogether in Paazierre Forest and Naliboki Forest. Afterwards the majority of those pups were traced until the mid winter. While investigating denning by wolves, I paid much attention to the species denning behaviour. In 1997-2005 all the pups found were marked with a finger clipping that allowed to learn a lot of new things from the wolf life.  In 2015-2017 we used intensive camera-trapping as an extra approach to investigate the wolf reproduction in Naliboki Forest.

Pack multi-breeding (15 cases), breeding of yearling females (2 cases) and hybridization with stray dogs (at least, 7 cases) were found, that makes this study quite unique. Wolf reproduction ecology, in particularly the species breeding, is still one of the two main studies I do.

0904:030915:-2C:CAMERA2   :5
Breeding pair.
1810:041115:12C:CAMERA3   :6
Father at the burrow-den.
Inspecting wolf burrow-den in sand ground.
Усяродку воўчага норнага логвішча
Inside wolf burrow-den.
Pups inside wolf burrow-den.
Pups inside wolf burrow den.
Five and two week old pups that were found in one wolf den in the case of pack triple breeding; mothers stole pups from each other.
Аўтар у норным логавішчы ў тарфяным валу аглядае ваўчанят
Vadim Sidorovich in wolf burrow-den in peat mound.
Навароджаныя ваўчаняты ў тарфяной нары
Pups in burrow-den in peat mound.
Двухтыднёвыя ваўчаняты на адчыненым лежневым логавішчы
Pups on open coach den.
воўча логвішча пад вываратам
Wolf cavity-den with pups.
Pups in cavity-den.
атвор ў воўчую нару ў спарахнелым вялікім пні
Wolf cavity-den.
Inspecting wolf cavity-den with pups.
Pups in cavity-den.
Аўтар працуе з ваўчанятамі пры логавішчы, вызначаючы патрэбную інфармацыю - копія
Separating males and females in wolf litter.
Wolf father checking abandoned badger sett as a possible another den for pups.
Breeding pair of wolves checking abandoned badger sett as a possible another den for pups.
At the wolf den with pups.
Wolf pups in coach-den at uprooted spruce.
Long-used by wolves initial coach den under treefall.
Wolf denning plot under treefall.

Also, in 1999-2009 and in 2013-2014 in Naliboki Forest two or more wolf pack diets were estimated monthly. There were analysed diets of both free ranging wolves (adults or suadults) and parent-dependent pups. The first study period was characterized by unique prey supply situation, when all wolf-relevant prey species were common in Naliboki Forest; whereas in 2013-2014 the roe deer and wild boars got scarce there after the strong decline in the late winter of 2013.

In 2006-2008, I led the project in order to elaborate the national management plan for the wolf population in Belarus. Finally, it was achieved that wolves were partially protected in Belarus, at least, in the large enough reserves.

The results of the above-mentioned studies were partially published in the articles and two books (links below).

analysis-1“Analysis of vertebrate predator-prey community. Studies within the European Forest zone in terrains with transitional mixed forest in Belarus” – Tesey, 2011

vol2 “Naliboki Forest: Wild animals” – CHATYRY CHVERCI, 2016