Question of interspecific interactions of brown bears and wolves

In the scientific literature about brown bears Ursus arctos and wolves Canis lupus  there is information on the interactions of the species. Nevertheless, facing that denning in wolves is so insufficiently investigated (Sidorovich and Rotenko, 2017, 2019), it is easily believed that possible interference of brown bears towards wolves at denning is unknown still.

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Why do brown bears act so much at tar-treated power poles (Barsucha steading, Naliboki Forest, Belarus)?

In Naliboki Forest (north-western Belarus)there is Barsucha steading  that was abandoned by locals seven years ago. For the last five years a male brown bear has been living here. There are about thirty power poles that brought electricity to the steading. The power poles were made from pine logs and deeply treated with tar (particularly by creosote). At least, 22 of these poles were regularly visited by the bear. The bear acted there by gnawing the poles and rubbing against them by different ways. Additionally the bear dug for the tar around the pole and rolled a lot on at the poles.

Continue reading “Why do brown bears act so much at tar-treated power poles (Barsucha steading, Naliboki Forest, Belarus)?”

Peculiarity of usage of openings by lynxes

This post adverts the recent shift in the habitat-related lynx distribution for usage of openings and the lynx reaction to get back to forest in connection with the considerable changes in the wolf number in Naliboki Forest.
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Wolf erasing off marking points of lynxes

In Naliboki Forest adult lynxes particularly males are known as killers of the vulnerable categories of wolves such as pups, lonely living subadults and heavily pregnant females (Sidorovich et al., 2019). Also, lynxes may be a valuable competitor for wolves in their exploiting of the roe deer and beaver populations.  Study on the interference of wolves and lynxes in Naliboki Forest suggested that wolves disagree with  presence of lynxes in the habitats, and they behave aggressively towards lynxes, too.  Lynxes feel safe in forest habitats, whereas they mainly avoid openings, when wolves are common in the habitats and where they may be killed by a wolf pack, because there are no trees to escape. Continue reading “Wolf erasing off marking points of lynxes”

The role and origin of open ground spots for large carnivores, wild ungulates and other wildlife

In snowless period spots with open sand, peat or other ground types are outstanding elements in the habitat structure in  forested areas such as Belarus, and many mammal species tend to use them for territorial marking.  Among these mammal species first of all it may be mentioned red deer, bison, wolf and lynx.

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Great interest in marking by lynxes from other mammals

This post addresses the  intriguing question of a great interest of wolves, red foxes and deer to lynx marking points, but there is no an opposite reaction of lynxes to marking by the above species. It is easy to realize, why red deer, roe deer and red foxes pay so much attention –  lynxes kill them often. Therefore, any information about lynx distribution and status (adult or young, sex, welfare etc.) are important for these victim species. The same is for wolves. Adult lynxes not rarely kill wolves  from vulnerable categories such as pups, heavily pregnant females, just small individuals (Sidorovich et al., 2018). However why do lynxes pay a minimal attention to marking by deer and even by wolves?

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Survival of the ten pups in that large wolf family in Naliboki Forest: an intermediate report

In one of the previous posts I reported about presence of the large family of wolves in Naliboki Forest that in the last July (i.e. July of 2018) consisted of founding male, two breeding females, two litters with ten pups altogether and two pup-sitters, which were almost all the time with the pups. Presence of these pup-sitters was connected with the extra care of parents to save pups from lynx attacks. The last years in Naliboki Forest in  the conditions of the high number of lynxes (3-5 inds per 100 km2) wolf pup survival was very low; e.g. only about 4% of the wolf pups that were born in the spring of 2017 survived till the winter of 2017-2018. The occasions that wolf pups were killed by lynxes were numerically registered in Naliboki Forest earlier. Continue reading “Survival of the ten pups in that large wolf family in Naliboki Forest: an intermediate report”

Two wolf litters, two breeding females, founding male and two pup-sitters on a camera-trap in Naliboki Forest

This post gives the documentation by a camera-trap of two different  litters (10 pups altogether), two breeding females of the same wolf pack, the founding male and two pup-sitters in Naliboki Forest. The last feature is particularly essential. One or two pup-sitters were present at pups on about 60% of the hundreds of photos taken. It looks like we have registered the features of another trend in the wolf denning behavior that we haven’t faced with before the lynx got common. That is when breeding wolves use pup-sitters to save their pups from the lynx aggression (see another post for other details), when they go for hunting.

Continue reading “Two wolf litters, two breeding females, founding male and two pup-sitters on a camera-trap in Naliboki Forest”

Interference between the badger and raccoon dog in Belarus

A year ago, while publishing the book about badgers and raccoon dogs in Belarus (“Badger and Raccoon dog in Belarus: Population studies with implication for the decline in badgers“, Minsk, 2017), it looked like we knew all possible ways of interference between raccoon dogs and badgers. We registered blocking badgers sleeping in the sett’s hibernating chamber by raccoon dogs with suffocating of the badgers afterwards; killing of badger cubs by raccoon dogs; non-effective attacks of badger on raccoon dog at its sett as well as a lot of marking of badger setts by both species in order to prevent usage of the sett by the burrow-competitor species.  Any attack of an active badger by raccoon dogs was not registered, and that was considered as something non-real.

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Scaring lynxes away from their kills by wolves

Recently I faced with the next fourth case of scaring lynxes away from their kills by wolves and decided to prepare this post about this curious way of the species interference. This fourth registered such a story was outstandingly rich on events and relatively well photo-documented, therefore, I will begin just with that story.

In the story the main acting persons were Els Lavrysen and Hans Van Loy, a couple of lynx amateurs from Belgium, who faced the case of scaring lynx family away from the roe deer carcass by two wolves in Naliboki Forest (the central-western part of Belarus). Continue reading “Scaring lynxes away from their kills by wolves”