During the first 10 days of March, employees of the Sayano-Shushensky Biosphere Reserve completed the traditional winter counts. Animal populations were measured along 13 routes with a total length of 145 kilometres. The count covered all the main natural zones of the reserve: forest, forest steppe and steppe. This year, the snow thickness on some routes reached 90 centimetres. The deep, soft snow with no crust made it difficult for the researchers to move, but did not prevent hoofed animals (there are seven species in the reserve) from finding food.
It is too soon to speak about the concrete results of this year’s count, for the data needs to be processed and systematised. However, experts have noticed growth in the reserve’s sable population. Also spotted were wolves, boars, hares, Siberian ibexes, red deer, otters, squirrels, and snow leopards. The snow leopard population is stable, while monitoring efforts will be continued.
Experts will have more detailed information after processing the data back at the lab.