Breeding wolf couples without pups

Coauthor Irina Rotenko

In May 2020 we traced four breeding groups of wolves in the model area (about 1000 square km) of Naliboki Forest, the central-western part of Belarus. There were mating registered in all these wolf groups in the period from the late January till the mid-March. According to the obtained information from the camera-traps and by reading of activity signs, it looked like all the adult females of wolves got into heat and mated.

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Nowadays in Naliboki Forest wolves den almost exclusively in burrows

Coauthor Irina Rotenko

In June of 2018 there was post “Trends in the denning behaviour of the wolf and lynx in connection with the changes in the vertebrate community in Naliboki Forest (north-western Belarus)”. During the previous two years (2017 and 2018) in Naliboki Forest, the central-western Belarus we noticed several changes in the denning behaviour of wolves under the conditions of the markedly increased population densities of red deer and bison and still quite high number of elks. Bison, elks and red deer, while finding wolf pups, tend to kill them by trampling. The higher number of these animals that are inimical for wolf denning, the more protective reactions of wolf breeders we expect.

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Is a burrow a suitable lair for mother lynx?

Coauthor Irina Rotenko

Recently in Naliboki Forest in the central-western part of Belarus we registered when heavily pregnant female lynx was inspecting the last year burrow-den of wolves plausibly as one of potential sites for her denning.

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Sleeping by Eurasian lynxes

Coauthor Irina Rotenko

Together with Wild Naliboki team, Belgium and Maximilian Hetzer, Germany we investigate the poorly known ecological questions and behavioral traits of the Eurasian lynx in Naliboki Forest, the central-western Belarus (Sidorovich et al., 2018). One of such a question how much lynxes sleep during twenty-four hours.

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Change in the way of our study on the wolf breeding in Naliboki Forest, central-western Belarus

Coauthor Irina Rotenko

By this short post we would like to share some ideas in relation to the necessary changes in the way of our study on the wolf breeding in Naliboki Forest with the researchers and amateurs, who deal with that. With respect to the mentioned changes, three questions may be raised: (1) why do we need to change something in the study approach on the wolf breeding; (2) what the changes will be; and (3) which benefit we expect from the changes?

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Poorly known marking manner of the Eurasian lynx by scratching of forest floor or snow cover

Coauthor Irina Rotenko

In snowless season Eurasian lynxes quite often do territorial marks by applying not only rubbing and urinating (defecating), but also scratching of forest floor. It looks like that is poorly known for lynx researchers and amateurs.

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Breeding story of one model wolf pack leading by Torn Ear dominant female in Naliboki Forest: exceptional or routine?

Coauthor Irina Rotenko

Concerning the wolf Canis lupus  breeding in Europe and wider in Eurasia there is a widely spread belief that the species is strictly monogamous with a certain way of  breeding and pack formation in family pattern (e.g. Bibikov D.I., 1985 and references therein; Jędrzejewska & Jędrzejewski, 1998).  

Those beliefs suggested the three following theses: first,  during breeding season, a wolf pack has merely one litter or there are no pups; second, usually a wolf pack consists of parent wolves and their pups of the current and previous biological years as a normal maximum; additionally, such a pack may subordinate some non-relative wolves; and third, usually offspring disperse from their maternal pack around mating season, in the second year of their life, when they are 20-22 months old.

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Documentation of prolonged mating season in Eurasian lynxes

Coauthor Irina Rotenko

We continue the post about mating in Eurasian lynxes with some detalization in relation to the seasonal period of mating in Naliboki Forest, central-western part of Belarus. Here we would like to present some our photo-documentation that suggests the prolonged mating season in this lynx species in Naliboki Forest.

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Documentation of Eurasian lynx sleeping on a tree height and the species calling from a height on tree

Coauthor: Irina Rotenko

At 4PM on 19th of April 2020 in Naliboki Forest, the central-western Belarus we were walking in swamped black alder forest in the Vol’ka small river valley. The weather was quite cool and windy, but from time to time with sunshine. Then in one place we heard the lynx calling plausibly from a tree height. In total we heard about 40 callings with 2 seconds to 4 minutes interval. Moderate strength wind was blowing to our side from the direction of lynx calling place. It was luck and so we succeeded to approach the lynx 100-130 meters. The lynx was still calling from black alder tree on the height about 16 meters (see photo).

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Peculiarity of mating in lynxes in February-March 2020 in Naliboki Forest after the disease when most of the adult males died

As it was already published that in Naliboki Forest during summer, autumn and early winter 2019 more than a half of the local population of lynxes died from unknown disease. According to the intensive camera-trapping by about 70 cameras as well as by regular checking of lynx tracks, in Naliboki Forest in the model area of about one thousand square km 7 out of 13 adult males (S’tsiapan, Ksavery, Maxim, Bazyl’, Kazimir, Jan, one without name) and one adult female Jadz’viha disappeared. 7 out of 12 adult females (Jaryna, Vieranika, Pryhazhunja, Maximiliana, Malanka, Pielahieja and Bazylikha) were registered without any kittens in autumn. Two of them definitely lost them. Other afive dult females had 1 or 2 kittens only.

Continue reading “Peculiarity of mating in lynxes in February-March 2020 in Naliboki Forest after the disease when most of the adult males died”