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.

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

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”

Declines in mountain hares in Naliboki Forest, central west of Belarus: hypotheses and arguments

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.

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Mother lynx, having own kitten, has adopted another kitten, which mother has died

Coauthor: Irina Rotenko

In Naliboki Forest, the central-western part of Belarus we (Naust Eco Station and Wild Naliboki) have documented by camera-traps that a mother lynx, having own kitten, has adopted another kitten, which mother has died. Actually, the story was as following.

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Extermination of red foxes and raccoon dogs by lynxes and wolves in forested terrains, and the peculiarities of local populations of these medium-sized carnivores

Below we consider the combined impact of lynxes and wolves on the populations of red foxes and raccoon dogs, because their predation effects on the populations of these victim species are hard to separate. First, we list the gained data on the killing rate of red foxes and raccoon dogs by lynxes and wolves from two main different methods i.e. telemetry and snowtracking.

Continue reading “Extermination of red foxes and raccoon dogs by lynxes and wolves in forested terrains, and the peculiarities of local populations of these medium-sized carnivores”

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”