The main monograph on the grey wolf by Mech and Boitani (2003), which still provides the basic and unequalled knowledge on the species biology, informed the following. “Almost 30 years ago, Keith (1974) concluded that “the factors which provide wolf pup mortality during the first 5 months are almost wholly unknown. This is probably the single greatest enigma in wolf biology today.” Though some strides have been made toward identifying these factors, this is still a much needed area of research.”
While reading this in 2004, we already were much aimed by the question. Moreover, the opportunity to find out something really new in the wolf biology accelerated these our research efforts. Nowadays, we may say that, at least, for the region of Belarus mortality in wolf pups is known more or less. Also, we assume that the factors, which impact the survival of wolf pups in Belarus, act in other regions of European forest zone. At the same time, we suppose that the only main causes of wolf pup mortality were found out, whereas many smaller questions remain unresolved.
Continue reading “Mortality in wolf pups”
I would like to share our knowledge on the early denning behaviour and raising pups after weaning in wolves basing on the information that was gained in Belarus mostly in Naliboki Forest and Paazierre Forest.
The information is divided into two items: the first item is early denning behaviour in wolves; and the second one is raising of pups after weaning.
Continue reading “Early denning behaviour and raising of pups after weaning in wolves”
Planning to write a book about the lynx in Belarus, we first of all aimed to investigate aspects of the species’ population ecology which were insufficiently studied across its range. At the same time, we want to present the main regional characters of lynx ecology in the main types of habitat combinations related to soil, climate and relief: diet and distribution patterns. Continue reading “Distribution patterns and habitat combinations inhabited by lynx in Belarus”
Lynxes are known as mainly solitary carnivores. Social contacts between adults are believed to be strictly limited to a mating season and within mother-kits family group. Continue reading “Social behaviour in lynxes in non-mating season”
aReading literature and talking with wolf and lynx researchers, it becomes evident that interference between the two species is actually poorly studied. Some mammalogists tend to assume that wolves suppress the lynx population. Some even suggest details of the aggressive behaviour of wolves towards lynxes: strong wolf packs attack lynx family groups and kill kits during lynx mating season when the kits stay alone or disperse. Seemingly, such stories are only speculative beliefs and ideas. Continue reading “Findings on the interference between wolves and lynxes “
Within the analysis of vertebrate predator-prey community we carried out the population studies on the badger Meles meles and raccoon dog Nyctereutes procyonoides with implication for the strong decline in badgers even in seminatural terrains in Belarus. Continue reading “What is the cause of the badger population decline in Belarus? “
We have found a great difference in hunting styles of lynxes between the warm and cold seasons. In the cold season, particularly during the snow period lynxes hunt mostly by walking i.e. patrolling prey-rich habitats and suddenly attacking prey. In the warm season lynxes mainly wait for prey from a hide over prey pathway. Such … Continue reading “Difference in hunting styles of lynxes between the warm and cold season with implication for the home range structure”
We have found a great difference in hunting styles of lynxes between the warm and cold seasons. In the cold season, particularly during the snow period lynxes hunt mostly by walking i.e. patrolling prey-rich habitats and suddenly attacking prey. In the warm season lynxes mainly wait for prey from a hide over prey pathway. Such waiting usually lasts about ten and more hours. Continue reading “Difference in hunting styles of lynxes between the warm and cold season with implication for the home range structure”
The common belief of the lynx-related zoologists is that parturition in lynxes takes place in a thicket somewhere under treefall. Sometimes, it really happens. However, during twenty years of searching for wolf dens in Paazierre Forest and Naliboki Forest in Belarus in April-June in 1997-2017 I have found more than one thousand of wolf dens (mostly without pups, former ones etc) under treefalls and other vegetation thickets (mainly young spruce ones), but only a few lynx denning sites (easily recognisable by presence of lynx hair) have been found under treefalls.
Continue reading “Where do births and raising early days kittens in lynxes take place? When do lynxes give birth in Belarus?”
Concerning competition between wolves and lynxes in Belarus, it is worthwhile to compare the situation in the local wolf population in Naliboki Forest in 2008-2012 (when there were half as many lynxes as there are now) and in 2015-2017 (when there were about 50 and even more lynxes). Both wolves and lynxes were more or less protected in Naliboki Forest in the 2000s. Continue reading “Changes in the wolf reproduction rate and packing pattern with the increase in the lynx population density”
In Europe and wider in Eurasia between wolf researchers and in the circle of other wolf-related people (e.g. hunters specialising in killing wolves, wolf pup searches) there is a widely spread belief on wolf reproduction that wolves are strictly monogamous species with a certain way of breeding and family pattern of pack formation. Actually, in my study in Belarus since the late 1990s there have been found so many abnormalities in those, that I start to think about what actually prevails in the wolf reproduction and packing: the “rules” or “exceptions”. Such “abnormalities” occurring too often are a very interesting phenomenon and they need to be further investigated. Continue reading “Wolf breeding peculiarities”