Winter count in Pozarym Nature Sanctuary

Winter count in Pozarym Nature Sanctuary

18 February 2016

A research expedition is under way in Pozarym Nature Sanctuary to study and count rare animal species. Snow leopards, dholes, Siberian mountain goats, mountain sheep (argali) and forest subspecies of the reindeer feel quite at home in the reserve, mainly due to its hard-to-reach location.


The researchers retrieved data from 38 camera traps and inserted new memory cards and batteries. An annual winter count was also conducted, during which scientists studied snow tracks to estimate the number of animals. Lots of hoofed mammal  tracks were found in the flood plain of the Karatosh River. Camera trap evidence suggests that the number of predators – wolves, bears and lynxes – is on the rise.


Though this winter brought heavy snowfalls to most parts of Khakassia, not everywhere in Pozarym was blanketed in thick, deep snow. “Unlike during the previous winters, there has been little snow in the central part of the reserve. This is good news for the hoofed animals as it is easier for them to find forage and they don’t sink into deep snow,” one of the researchers, Pavel Vlasenko, said.


The fact that animals are using snow vehicle routes more actively to get from one part of the reserve to another indicates that they are getting accustomed to security and research-related activities of the reserve’s staff. Since many trails in Pozarym are still insufficiently explored, scientists are planning to organise at least three expeditions per year or more if necessary.


Created in December 2011, Pozarym Nature Sanctuary, sprawling across more than 253,000 hectares of forest land, connects mountain and forest clusters of Khakassky Nature Reserve with specially protected natural areas of the Altai and Sayan mountains. Pozarym’s creation and maintenance along with the research programmes on its territory have been co-sponsored by Khakassia’s branch of the Russian Geographical Society, Khakassky and Sayano-Shushensky reserves, the government of Khakassia and the Strana Zapovednaya National Fund.