Coauthor Irina Rotenko
Since March we have faced with cancellation of our wildlife trips in Naliboki Forest from the Naust Eco Station because of the pandemic situation. Our research on the wolf and lynx, family life and the maintenance of eco station itself appeared without any financial support. Having some cash accumulation, renting out the guest house and thanks to some donations from our former guests (Jean-louis Bonay, Mika Mäkinen, Gerard Oonk) we were able to live and keep up our research till the late summer. There was no any possibility to accept wildlife travellers from abroad because of the corvid-related lockdown of the European Union, spreading the disease and absence of suitable flights.
Continue reading “We renew wildlife trips in Naliboki Forest from the Naust Eco Station after the pandemic break”
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.
Continue reading “Breeding wolf couples without pups”
Before, in 1950s-1970s the mountain hare was common species in Naliboki Forest. According to the local hunter’s words in those winters the species tracks covered snow cover densely and more or less evenly in each fragment of this forested terrain. In the late 1990s and beginning of 2000s it looked like the mountain hare local population density in Naliboki Forest was evidently in a decline; there were censused only 0.2-0.8 inds per one square km. In 2005-2010 the evident growth of the local population of mountain hare was registered, and more or less high number of the species continued till 2014 (2.9-6.1 inds per one square km). Then during the each next winter we faced with fewer and fewer number of mountain hares in Naliboki Forest.
Continue reading “Declines in mountain hares in Naliboki Forest, central west of Belarus: hypotheses and arguments”
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?”
In Belarus during many years of study on wolves during the early summer (May-June), when I was investigating denning in wolves, I noticed numerically that wolves roll in an engine oil on forest roads once and again. The same red foxes do, sometimes, lynxes do that. Later in July-September wolves almost stop this habit. Continue reading “Why do wolves roll in engine oil on forest roads during early summer?”
By investigating the denning behaviour and ecology of wolves (Sidorovich and Rotenko, 2018) and lynxes in Naliboki Forest, we faced with several evident trends during the last years (2016-2019) that we connect with the changes in the local vertebrate community or more specifically with the pronounced changes in the population densities of those species that may affect the denning conditions for wolves and lynxes.
Continue reading “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)”
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.
Continue reading “Information on the hybridization of wolves and stray dogs in Belarus”
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”