During the warm season of 2021 in Naliboki Forest we investigated post-denning life of four families of Eurasian lynxes. Doing that, we applied about sixty camera traps. Among the mother lynxes there were three model females (Aurelija, Jurchykha and Darota), which we traced for several years before, and one newly appeared mother lynx. The number of kittens varied from one to three: 1 (the new mother), 2 (Jurchykha and Aurelija) and 3 (Darota).
In the last year after our study on denning in wolves in May 2020 we have already reported about the peculiar situation in denning by wolves in Naliboki Forest, the central-western Belarus. Wolf breeders stopped denning on open coaches as it used to be, and they began denning in burrows exclusively, when mammals (red deer, bison, elk, lynx, brown bear), which are characterized by aggressive behaviour to pups, got plenty altogether in this forested terrain.
In May 2021 we discovered four active wolf dens and traced the denning behaviour of two wolf breeding groups having two and three breeding females (both cases of a multi-breeding in a wolf pack). All the five breeding female wolves kept pups in burrows only. Altogether we found 33 wolf burrow-dens that were used for denning: 7 self-made by wolves and 26 enlarged badger-setts and outliers. Interestingly, that 11 out of 26 badger burrows were wolf burrow-dens before (2-7 years ago). No any wolf couch-dens were found in May 2021, while before such a situation that is inimical for wolf denning they denned on open couches and pits.
See the video below for the details of denning in wolves in Naliboki Forest during May 2021.
Every May we continue our long-term study on behaviour and ecology of denning wolves. Since 2004 the terrain of Naliboki Forest (the central-western part of Belarus) has been the main study area for the question. Since 2018 the brown bear has become more or less common there. It appears possible to investigate the interspecific interactions of brown bears and wolves and particularly during denning period in wolves.
Recently I published a new book “Reading mammal activity signs. Experience of 40 years in Naliboki Forest and Paazierre Forest, Belarus”. It is published in two versions as a hard copy and as an e-book (print replica).
The book language is English. It consists of 440 pages and includes 1608 illustrations, mainly photos of mammal doing activity signs and activity signs themselves.
It looks like among both amateurs and researchers of the Eurasian lynx an opinion is wide-spread that the species strictly avoids cold water, in particular crossing cold waters of streams by swimming. Before camera-trapping by dealing with lynxes already quite a lot (study on population dynamics and diet in connection with changes in prey supply), we think like that, too.
One of the most important pressing questions of the Eurasian lynx behaviour and ecology is a role of an adult male in family life. It is well known that an adult male lynx accepts from one to three adult females in its home range. So, it may be up to three lynx mothers with kittens in the territory that is occupied by an adult male lynx. In our case in Naliboki Forest (central-western Belarus) there were usually two such families, rarer one or three families inside a territory of an adult male lynx.
In 2019-2020 in Naliboki Forest (central-western Belarus) by means of registration of tracks at tree butt and claw marks on trunk we found that in February-April lynxes used climbing on two pine trees which had a raven nest. After several lynx climbing the nests were almost destroyed and finally disappeared. We could not take photos of that lynx behaviour, however, all the signs, that we observed, definitely suggested that the lynxes were on the nests.
In mountain rocky regions it is well-known that Eurasian lynxes use cavity-shelters that situated under or between rocks, whereas in non-rocky forested regions such a behaviour of the species is not so evident. Recently we found that lynxes use cavity-shelters in such habitats a lot, too. We investigated this question on lynx behaviour in Naliboki Forest (central-western Belarus) by means of camera-trapping, snowtracking and detailed inspection of lynx habitats with checking for lynx hair.