In Belarus, our study on the question of visiting of wolves in human settlements suggests that it regularly happens if wolves are present in surroundings of a human settlement. That was common of what we faced frequently, by doing our study on wolves in the countryside of Belarus long-term during several decades. While inspecting frequently several model human settlements in 2006-2008 in Naliboki Forest and its surroundings, we registered that very small human settlements such as homesteads and hamlets, where only a few people live, were visited by wolves every 1-9 days, on average every 5 days; whereas villages with many inhabitants were visited by wolves less often every 4-21 days, on average every 8 days. During such visits, small human settlements (having approximately up to 40 inhabitants) were usually crossed by wolves along one of the streets, while villages were mainly inspected by wolves at their boundaries or slightly entering in the village. All these visits of human settlements by wolves happened at nights. Only remote single houses were sometimes visited by wolves in the daytime. As to seasonality, wolves come to human settlements year-round, but markedly less in the denning period (May-July) and more frequently during winter particularly from the mid-January till the mid-March. Continue reading “Visits of wolves in human settlements in Belarus with implication for wolf attacks of dogs”
Doing study on population ecology of wolves, we faced with the phenomenon of hybridization beetwen wolf and domestic (actually stray) dog. Such hybridization of wolves and dogs is a question worthwhile to consider in the aspect of the wolf reproduction biology. Firstly, it relates to breeding of wolves; secondly, such a hybridization may be considered as the extreme effort of the last wolf individuals to maintain the declined population with such an abnormal reproduction.
Since the early 1980s, I have spent much time in Naliboki Forest. Mostly doing the study on vertebrate predators, I always snatched an opportunity to visit the remains of the primeval forest, where trees saw axe and saw rarely and where some of the trees still remembered the Middle Age time. Such pristine forest magnetized so much.
In this terrain broad-leaved deciduous forest older than 100 years (i.e. real broad-leaved deciduous oldgrowth) survived on a very small part of Naliboki Forest only – 0.3% (it is about 6 km2). Nevertheless, in Belarus and other neighbouring regions there are actually a few forest massive, where such centuries-old forest plots still exist, and, so, Naliboki Forest is one of them. In these oldgrowth patches the oldest oak trees, which grow on the distance of 15-60 meters apart, have an age of 200-400 years. In the oldest tree stands the mean oak age constituted 326 years old according to 14 estimates. Also, in the deciduous broad-leaved oldgrowth there are old maples, limes and ashes (but ashes die in numbers nowadays). Continue reading “Broadleaved deciduous oldgrowth in Naliboki Forest and the main predator-prey relationships in its community of vertebrates”