Winter counts to take place at Sayano-Shushensky Biosphere Reserve

Winter counts to take place at Sayano-Shushensky Biosphere Reserve

5 February 2018

In early February, traditional winter counts will begin at the Sayano-Sushensky Biosphere Reserve. Experts at the reserve estimate the population size of the snow leopard, wolf, boar, Pallas’s cat, sable and other mammals, and map the tracks of animals rarely found at the reserve.  


Winter counts at Sayano-Sushensky cover 13 established routes of different length. The monitoring methodology is based on counting the number of fresh tracks visible along a route. Later on, the population is estimated for each species recorded in the reserve during the winter count.


As per the methodology, work on each route takes two days. On the first day (“sweeping” day), all the tracks left by the animals in the snow are swept away and the animal trails are covered with snow. On the second day (count day), all the new tracks are logged in the winter count record, which lists the species, direction of movement and the number of animals that crossed the route. In addition to that, a map is drawn to show each track that crossed the trail with an arrow pointing in the direction of the animal’s movement.


The materials obtained in the course of the count are used to make an expert estimate of the animals’ population. The data collected will be useful in studying the biology of each species and in protection efforts.