Video-results of the study on wolf denning in May 2021 in Naliboki Forest: again wolves denned in burrows only and no more on open couches

Co-authors: Irina Rotenko and Gerard Oonk

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.

Summary on the wolf triple-breeding group that we traced in 2020 and partial split in the pack by late autumn

Coauthor Irina Rotenko

In 2020 we published series of posts (1); (2); (3); (4); (5) about triple-breeding pack of wolves, which consisted of three semi-independent breeding couples. This breeding group and the whole pack was led by one of the breeding females that we call Torn Ear. She was easily recognisable on photos due to really torn right ear.  

Continue reading “Summary on the wolf triple-breeding group that we traced in 2020 and partial split in the pack by late autumn”

Documentation of male lynxes stalking for wolf pups in the family homesites in July-August in Naliboki Forest

Coauthor Irina Rotenko

This post is connected with the recent post about mortality in wolf pups in Naliboki Forest and the whole Belarus. In that post about wolf pup mortality we provided quite a lot information on stalking for wolf pups by lynxes, particularly by adult male lynxes. The most vulnerable period in this kind of lynx-wolf interference starts since mid-July, when still quite small vulnerable pups begin to walk alone rather faraway from the coaching place of the wolf family homesite.

Continue reading “Documentation of male lynxes stalking for wolf pups in the family homesites in July-August in Naliboki Forest”

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.

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

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.

Continue reading “Unique parent cooperation in multibreeding situation of wolf pack”

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.

Continue reading “Documentation of using badger sett by lynx mother with small kittens”

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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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; JÄ™drzejewska & JÄ™drzejewski, 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?”

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.

Continue reading “Mother lynx, having own kitten, has adopted another kitten, which mother has died”