Recovering of the badger local population in Naliboki Forest, NW Belarus in connection with winter warming and predation of lynxes and wolves

Historically, the badger was fairly common species in Naliboki Forest that is in the north-western part of Belarus. Besides the respective  information that was obtained from the locals (e.g. Baliaslaw Sadowski, Lianard Jurevich, Edzik Khmara), who lived and was familiar with the forest in the 1930s-1960s, also presence of numerous former badger setts suggests about the commonness of badgers. Approximatelly, the density of main setts, where badger families lived before, was not lower than 15 per 100 km2 in the most ecologically rich southern part of Naliboki Forest and about 4 per 100 km2 in the central and central-northern parts of the terrain, where habitat carrying capacity for badgers is markedly  lower. It means that the former density in more or less undisturbed badger population in Naliboki Forest ranged approximately between 20 and 120 individuals per 100 km2 in relation to the habitat  carrying capacity of the terrain.

Continue reading “Recovering of the badger local population in Naliboki Forest, NW Belarus in connection with winter warming and predation of lynxes and wolves”

Rapid decline in the local population of lynx in Naliboki Forest, NW Belarus: density-dependent regulation or disease?

First, briefly about history of lynxes in Naliboki Forest during several last decades. In the early and mid-1990’s, after the Soviet Union crash, perhaps in conditions of relatively weak nature protection, the majority of lynxes were poached in Naliboki Forest. In the 1980’s there was a dense lynx population in the terrain, but by the late 1990’s lynxes occurred sporadically there. In the early 2000’s lynxes began recolonizing Naliboki Forest. The severe snow conditions in the late winter and early spring of 2013 seemed to impact lynxes negatively, and the local lynx population number dropped from 35 to 22 the next winter. Indeed, during the spring of 2013, as far as we learned, local forestry workers and antler searchers found at least three lynx carcasses. All of them seemed to be subadults or kittens, because they looked relatively small.

Continue reading “Rapid decline in the local population of lynx in Naliboki Forest, NW Belarus: density-dependent regulation or disease?”

Wildlife trips on the way of our zoological study in Naliboki Forest

Nowadays, the way of a researcher is overloaded with applying for projects and then producing numerous reports that can negatively affect the studies of wildlife.  Such a situation is spread in the academic zone everywhere in the world. It wasn’t so hard for us a while ago, but during the last decade it started to be really too much, and that brought a feeling of wasting time in the academic zone. In effect, we quitted the zoological institute and university we worked for (in my case for 32 years), moved to our homestead in Naliboki Forest and continued the study on vertebrate predators (first of all, the wolf, lynx and badger) on our own. Continue reading “Wildlife trips on the way of our zoological study in Naliboki Forest”

Outstandingly high species diversity of raptors (diurnal raptors and owls) in Naliboki Forest

While observing and censusing raptors in Naliboki Forest, it was an outstandingly high species diversity of diurnal raptors and owls. Here is a possible explanation of this phenomenon.

Continue reading “Outstandingly high species diversity of raptors (diurnal raptors and owls) in Naliboki Forest”

Enigmatic warm-season behavior and ecology in Eurasian lynxes: pressing questions, hypotheses and results up-to-date

The behavior and ecology of the Eurasian lynx during the snowless season, particularly from the second half of April till the end of October (hereafter the warm season), is still searchless, and several important questions of study on the species in this seasonal period are seemingly even unknown. The main hassle is that the prevailing research method of GSM GPS telemetry  fails to investigate those questions. Basically this method only records coordinates and how active or passive the individual is. It looks like currently the single possible way to learn about the behavior and ecology during the warm season  goes through much routine habitat inspection, art skills to read activity signs of lynxes in snowless period and smart extensive camera-trapping.

Continue reading “Enigmatic warm-season behavior and ecology in Eurasian lynxes: pressing questions, hypotheses and results up-to-date”

The book on the wolf reproduction biology. Second edition.

Together with Irina Rotenko we recently published the second edition of the book on the wolf Canis lupus reproduction biology, which was based on the data gained in Belarus. There, we address the questions of the species mating, denning and raising of pups as well as mortality in wolf pups, which are still insufficiently investigated and full of contradicting hypotheses and knowledge. Therefore, the subtitle is “common beliefs versus reality”. However, the main thing for us in doing this book is to share the knowledge and skills we have gained on wolves in Belarus with wolf colleagues and amateurs.

In the second edition of the book we advanced all the former chapters basing on the results of the intensive study of wolf reproduction during spring-summer of 2018 and 2019 in Naliboki Forest. Also, we added one more chapter about the revealed trends in the denning behaviour of wolves in connection with the changes in the vertebrate community in Naliboki Forest.

Continue reading “The book on the wolf reproduction biology. Second edition.”

Which mammal species use wolf burrows?

While denning, wolf breeders dig burrows quite often. At the same time fairly frequently wolf pups may be situated on a coach-den in close proximity to the burrow-dens that were created by their parents, but not inside one of these burrows. An interesting question may be raised. Which mammal species use wolf burrows afterwards? Of course, small insectivores and rodents visit such burrows regularly. There is no any doubt in that. But which bigger mammal species may use former wolf burrow-dens?

Continue reading “Which mammal species use wolf burrows?”