The next step in the change of wolf denning habitats in connection with further increase in red deer and bison numbers in Naliboki Forest

In June of 2018 there was post “Trends in the denning behaviour of the wolf and lynx in connection with the changes in the vertebrate community in Naliboki Forest (north-western Belarus)”,  in which I described the changes in the denning behaviour of wolves and lynxes in connection with the population growth of the lynx, red deer, bison, and recovering of the badger population in the 2010s.  It was shown that wolves with their prevailing of an open denning appeared in the hard situation to reproduce despite of the extra breeding efforts, first of all, with a pack multi-breeding.

Continue reading “The next step in the change of wolf denning habitats in connection with further increase in red deer and bison numbers in Naliboki Forest”

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

Co-author Irina Rotenko

Concerning territorial marking by lynxes there is intriguing question of a great interest of wolves, red foxes and deer to lynx marking points, but there is no such a reaction of lynxes and deer to marking by wolves. 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 infrequently kill wolves from vulnerable categories such as pups, heavily pregnant females, just small individuals. However why there is no such a pronounced reaction on marking by wolves?

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Dramatic situation in the beaver population in Naliboki Forest in relation to hotter and drier summers nowadays

Till the 1960s  Naliboki Forest, which is situated in the north-western Belarus, was a greatly swamped terrain, where on the area about two thousands km2 swamps of various types and sizes were interspersed with dry land forests the terrain-wide. Open grassy marshes constituted about 19%  of the terrain. Approximately a third part of the forest habitats that covered about 76% of the area were swamped too (Sidorovich, 2016). Such a swamped forest was either in kinds of black alder and downy birch mixture (with prevalence of one of the species) or that was raised bogs with suppressed or normal pines. Continue reading “Dramatic situation in the beaver population in Naliboki Forest in relation to hotter and drier summers nowadays”

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”

Non-howling silent wolves in Belarus

Every time rereading the excellent wolf monograph by Mech and Boitani (2003), in particular, the item about wolf communication by Harrington and Asa, I was surprised to find out how rich voice-communication of wolves in North America and somewhere else can be. In my study areas in Belarus (look like in the whole country) I can characterize wolves as non-howling let’s say silent.  More and more I become convinced that wolves in Belarus avoid to produce any loud noise.

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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”

Trends in the denning behaviour of the wolf and lynx in connection with the changes in the vertebrate community in Naliboki Forest (north-western Belarus)

By investigating the denning behaviour and ecology of wolves (Sidorovich and Rotenko, 2018) and lynxes in Naliboki Forest, we faced with several evident trends during the last years (2016-2018) that we connect with the changes in the local vertebrate community or  more specifically with the pronounced changes in the population densities of those species  that may affect the denning conditions for wolves and  lynxes.
Continue reading “Trends in the denning behaviour of the wolf and lynx in connection with the changes in the vertebrate community in Naliboki Forest (north-western Belarus)”