Wildlife photography at the Sayano-Shushensky Biosphere Reserve

Wildlife photography at the Sayano-Shushensky Biosphere Reserve

2 November 2016

Autumn fieldwork is over now that data has been collected from trail cameras at the Sayano-Shushensky Biosphere Reserve. They are checked and reloaded three times a year – in February, June and October, with some cameras checked once every two months. 


Automatic camera traps are the main tools for observing and monitoring the number of secretive animals, particularly snow leopards and Pallas’s cats. Camera traps monitoring snow leopards were installed eight years ago close to the animals’ “checkpoints” – spots sprayed with urine time and again, and found by man during winter tracking.


Trail cameras are used also in large mammals’ biological and ecological studies, for which they are mounted at the crossing of animal trails, in mountain range saddles, and close to marked trees and stones. The cameras are installed at different heights to reflect animals’ seasonal migrations and specify the borders of some species’ habitats. The borders of several wolf families’ hunting grounds were detected with such cameras. They also often photograph bears, foxes, otters, Siberian ibexes, and red and musk deer. Photos of forest reindeer were obtained for the first time this year that show eight animals at a time. Other felines beside snow leopards are also photographed, especially the lynx and Pallas’s cat. Photographs demonstrate animal habits and spontaneous behaviour as the “models” mostly ignore them.


Reserve researchers are satisfied with this autumn’s photographs, and will now study them at their office.