The essential changes in my research establishment that happened in 2015-2017

For more than thirty years, till 2016 I had worked for the Institute of Zoology of the National Academy of Science of Belarus. But with time I started noticing that my working time was more and more wasted on the continuous applying for projects, reporting and very time-consuming presenting of the results in scientific journals. There was not enough time for the study itself.  But  if even a quite successful  zoologist neglects this applying-reporting-presenting chain,  soon he will appear without a financial support. So it seems the only way for a reseracher to be employed as a zoologist with some financial resources is to stay at a computer screen. Such a system in zoology seems to act all around the world, when an experienced zoologist should spend the main working time like that. I got convinced that, at least, it is true for zoology of vertebrate animals,  the field I have worked in for more than 30 years since 1984.

On the other hand, study on ecology and behaviour of large predators, in particular the lynx demands so much presence of their researcher in the wild for investigating them. Otherwise, by doing study on such a complicated animal from an office, such a zoologist tends either to simplify the reality or, quite the opposite,  to follow too theoretical  and sometimes wrong ideas,  proving them with a number of parameters and comprehensive statistics and mathematic simulation. The latter two seem to be able to prove everything you want.  Such confidence is not because of  possible lack of knowledge about these methods. Being graduated from the quite strong faculty of applied mathematics in the Belarusian State University and having a long experience of a real zoology, I am gradually getting convinced in that.

I would like to break this type of research life, at least, for myself.  Further in my study on large predators I will try to follow an approach to describe and provide proof not with abundance of figures and complicated statistics, but using many suitable documented examples and with minimally enough estimates and statistics, but with detailed basic data.

Concerning the financial support of the study, we will try to follow the foundation-free approach, by trying to earn for the study and family life via wildlife-tripping together with my wife Irina Rotenko. Such trips deal with the main subjects of my study i.e. the wolf and lynx (see With the respect to these, in this our activity we would like involve amateurs and professional zoologists, who would like to contribute in that without employment, just following their interest like the team of Wild Naliboki.

As to sharing research results with colleagues, we chose to write books and make them available free on the Web. It seems to be a good alternative way and stats of reads supports such a choice a lot.

Vadim Sidorovich
Vadim Sidorovich in Naliboki Forest, May of 2017