Mortality in wolf pups

The main monograph on the grey wolf by Mech and Boitani (2003), which still provides the basic and unequalled knowledge on the species biology, informed the following. “Almost 30 years ago, Keith (1974) concluded that “the factors which provide wolf pup mortality during the first 5 months are almost wholly unknown. This is probably the single greatest enigma in wolf biology today.” Though some strides have been made toward identifying these factors, this is still a much-needed area of research.”

While reading this in 2004, we already were much aimed at the question. Moreover, the opportunity to find out something really new in the wolf biology accelerated these our research efforts. Nowadays, we may say that, at least,  for the region of Belarus mortality in wolf pups is known more or less. Also, we assume that the factors, which impact the survival of wolf pups in Belarus, act in other regions of European forest zone. At the same time, we suppose that the only main causes of wolf pup mortality were found out, whereas many smaller questions remained without answers still.

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Distribution patterns and habitat combinations inhabited by lynx in Belarus

Planning to write a book about the lynx in Belarus, we first of all aimed to investigate aspects of the species’ population ecology which were insufficiently studied across its range. At the same time, we want to present the main regional characters of lynx ecology in the main types of habitat combinations related to soil, climate and relief: diet and distribution patterns. Continue reading “Distribution patterns and habitat combinations inhabited by lynx in Belarus”

Findings on the interference between wolves and lynxes 

Reading literature and talking with wolf and lynx researchers, it becomes evident that interference between the two species is actually poorly studied. Some mammalogists tend to assume that wolves suppress the lynx population. Some even suggest details of the aggressive behaviour of wolves towards lynxes: strong wolf packs attack lynx family groups and kill kits during lynx mating season when the kits stay alone or disperse. Seemingly, such stories are only speculative beliefs and ideas. Continue reading “Findings on the interference between wolves and lynxes “

Difference in hunting styles of lynxes between the warm and cold season with implication for the home range structure

We have found a great difference in hunting styles of lynxes between the warm and cold seasons. In the cold season, particularly during the snow period lynxes hunt mostly by walking i.e. patrolling prey-rich habitats and suddenly attacking prey. In the warm season lynxes mainly wait for prey from a hide over prey pathway. Such waiting usually lasts about ten and more hours. Continue reading “Difference in hunting styles of lynxes between the warm and cold season with implication for the home range structure”

Where do births and raising early days kits in lynxes take place? When do lynxes give birth in Belarus?

The common belief of the lynx-related zoologists is that parturition in lynxes takes place in a thicket somewhere under treefall. Sometimes, it really happens. However, for more than twenty years of searching for wolf dens in Paazierre Forest and Naliboki Forest in Belarus in April-June I have found almost two thousand of wolf dens under treefalls (mostly without pups, former ones etc), but only a few lynx denning sites (easily recognisable by presence of lynx hair) have been found under treefalls.
Continue reading “Where do births and raising early days kits in lynxes take place? When do lynxes give birth in Belarus?”

Changes in the wolf reproduction rate and packing pattern with the increase in the lynx population density

Concerning competition between wolves and lynxes in Belarus, it is worthwhile to compare the situation in the local wolf population in Naliboki Forest in 2008-2012 (when there were half as many lynxes as there are now) and in 2015-2017 (when there were about 50 and even more lynxes). Both wolves and lynxes were more or less protected in Naliboki Forest in the 2000s. Continue reading “Changes in the wolf reproduction rate and packing pattern with the increase in the lynx population density”