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.

Continue reading “Mortality in wolf pups”

Early denning behaviour and raising of pups after weaning in wolves

I would like to share our knowledge on the early denning behaviour and raising pups after weaning in wolves basing on the information that was gained in Belarus mostly in Naliboki Forest and Paazierre Forest.

The information is divided into three items:

  1. Early denning behaviour in wolves
  2. Raising of pups after weaning
  3. Some behavioral traits of wolf-stray dog pairs at denning and raising pups

Continue reading “Early denning behaviour and raising of pups after weaning in wolves”

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 “

Plans for a book on the wolf reproduction biology

Together with Irina Rotenko I started preparing a book about wolves in Belarus. There, we will address the questions of the species reproduction biology  that are still insufficiently investigated and full of contradicting hypotheses and knowledge. However, the main thing for us in doing this book is that being interested in studying these hidden part of wolf life, we would like to share the knowledge and skills we have gained on wolves in Belarus with wolf colleagues and amateurs. Continue reading “Plans for a book on the wolf reproduction biology”

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”

Wolf breeding peculiarities

In Europe and wider in Eurasia between wolf researchers and in the circle of other wolf-related people (e.g. hunters specialising in killing wolves, wolf pup searches) there is a widely spread belief on wolf reproduction that wolves are strictly monogamous species with a certain way of breeding and family pattern of pack formation. Actually, in my study in Belarus since the late 1990s there have been found so many abnormalities in those, that I start to think about what actually prevails in the wolf reproduction and packing: the “rules” or “exceptions”. Such “abnormalities” occurring too often are a very interesting phenomenon and they need to be further investigated.  Continue reading “Wolf breeding peculiarities”

Investigation of the wolf population biology (general information)

Since 1999 I have shifted own efforts on the study on the wolf Canis lupus population ecology.  In 1996-1998 in Paazierre Forest (mainly in the Lovat terrain), the northern Belarus  there were fulfilled studies on the wolf diet in relation to the dramatic changes in the preystock and on breeding in wolves. The research on the question of the species breeding had been continued there until 2005.  However,  since 2000 the main study area on wolves has been replaced in Naliboki Forest and its rural-forest surroundings.  The species reproduction and breeding behaviour have become the main pressing questions of my zoological study. Continue reading “Investigation of the wolf population biology (general information)”