Picking information on the number of particular species of mammals in the Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve takes place all year round: a questionnaire is taken, data from camera traps is analyzed. However, the main method of defining the number of animals is winter route counts (WRC). This is one of the most important environmental events in the reserve, which is held annually. The accounting methodology of WRC is based on counting animals tracks on the snow. The accountant looks for such intersections of the route, determines the specie of animal and marks that on the scheme. The total number of mammals is calculated using special formulas using a conversion factor.
Usually WRC is held in February for two days. In 2023, the accounting was carried out on February 10-11 on the territory of 7 forestries of the Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve and adjacent hunting farms by the staff of the forestries themselves, as well as the specialists of hunting department, under the supervision of our scientists.
The main objects of the counts are the most common animal species: ungulates, carnivores, lagomorphs and some rodents. The weather conditions for the current survey were favorable. Due to the thaw (0+2 °C these days), the snow in the forest subsided, which had affected the activity of the animals in a positive way.
The survey routes almost do not change from year to year, which makes it possible to obtain comparative data, and they pass mainly along quarterly clearings to facilitate orientation in the area. The routes cross all the diversity of biotopes (forest, field, floodplain, swamp) in the same proportion as they are represented on the territory of the reserve. This year, the accountants covered 49 routes, with a total length of more than 450 km. The length of the walking route is 9-10 km on average. All received data will be carefully analyzed and included in the next annual issue of the "Nature Chronicle" of the reserve.
Preliminary cameral processing of the survey materials showed that the number of red deer this year increased by almost a third compared to last year.
The number of lynx, both according to the results of the WRC and according to the year-round mapping of tracks, is stable (about 20 individuals).
Compared to last year, there was a significant increase in the number of both predators (fox, marten) and their prey (brown and white hare, squirrel).
The decrease in the number of roe deer may be due to the increase in the number of wolves in the reserve this year. Both according to the results of the questionnaire survey and according to the data obtained with camera traps, the number of wolves reached 35 individuals.