We renew wildlife trips in Naliboki Forest from the Naust Eco Station after the pandemic break

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.

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Behaviour of wolf pups and parents on the stage, when the pups are 30-100 days old: new knowledge for the European wolves

Coauthor Irina Rotenko

Until wolf pups are about one month old, they stay mainly at dens being taken care of by parents who stay at the den or, at least, in the close proximity. Then wolf pups begin to be more mobile, but very hidden life of a wolf family in the tall and dense vegetation makes hard to learn the pup behaviour in June-July. The topic of wolf pups life when they are about 30-100 days old is still very poorly known in Europe and the whole Eurasia. Smart and careful usage of camera-traps can help in studying the question, while telemetry does not seem to be a right method in this case. In our study, besides camera-trapping we also used several other sources of data that are mentioned below in the post.

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Two wolf mothers, two fathers, united pups and female pup-sitter in one homesite in Naliboki Forest

Coauthor Irina Rotenko

In the previous post we presented videos about digging of a burrow-den by two wolf couples, both having pups, and taking one of the litter in this prepared den, where the pups stayed several days.

Continue reading “Two wolf mothers, two fathers, united pups and female pup-sitter in one homesite in Naliboki Forest”

Unique parent cooperation in multibreeding situation of wolf pack

Coauthor Irina Rotenko

From the post about the outstanding reproductive behaviour of one model wolf pack that is leading by quite old experienced female that we call as Torn Ear, perhaps, you already got to know that during this warm season i.e. in May-July 2020 we traced a very interesting breeding situation in this wolf group.

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Documentation of using badger sett by lynx mother with small kittens

Coauthor Irina Rotenko

In our previous studies we registered usage of badger setts by mother lynx with small kittens in June-August (mainly by track registrations), as well as much interest of pregnant female lynxes to badger setts (by camera trapping). We supposed that badger sett is a quite common den of the Eurasian lynx. Nevertheless, a good documentation of using badger sett by lynx mother with small kittens was absent in our materials. We had some photos of that behaviour only.

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Breeding wolf couples without pups

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.

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Nowadays in Naliboki Forest wolves den almost exclusively in burrows

Coauthor Irina Rotenko

In June of 2018 there was post “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)”. During the previous two years (2017 and 2018) in Naliboki Forest, the central-western Belarus we noticed several changes in the denning behaviour of wolves under the conditions of the markedly increased population densities of red deer and bison and still quite high number of elks. Bison, elks and red deer, while finding wolf pups, tend to kill them by trampling. The higher number of these animals that are inimical for wolf denning, the more protective reactions of wolf breeders we expect.

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Is a burrow a suitable lair for mother lynx?

Coauthor Irina Rotenko

Recently in Naliboki Forest in the central-western part of Belarus we registered when heavily pregnant female lynx was inspecting the last year burrow-den of wolves plausibly as one of potential sites for her denning.

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Sleeping by Eurasian lynxes

Coauthor Irina Rotenko

Together with Wild Naliboki team, Belgium and Maximilian Hetzer, Germany we investigate the poorly known ecological questions and behavioral traits of the Eurasian lynx in Naliboki Forest, the central-western Belarus (Sidorovich et al., 2018). One of such a question how much lynxes sleep during twenty-four hours.

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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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