Winter route census conducted in Sayano-Shushensky nature reserve

Winter route census conducted in Sayano-Shushensky nature reserve

16 February 2021

The winter route census is one of the main procedures in counting the reserve's animal populations. The work usually begins in mid-February, when the severe cold subsides and animals become more active in moving along their trails. Also, many animals begin rutting at this time of the year, which also contributes to increased activity.


Winter route counting takes two days. On the first day, fieldworkers remove all animal tracks left in the snow and cover the animal paths with snow. On the second day all the animal tracks that have newly appeared are counted and recorded, with details of the type, direction and number of animals that crossed the route. The cards filled in during the course of the field work are then processed in the office, and the number of crossings of tracks per 10 km of the route is estimated for each species in its habitat to determine the density of animal populations living in the reserve. In addition to the quantitative data, the winter route census also provides the reserve staff with information about animal behaviour and territorial distribution.


The counting will continue until the end of February. Over this time, researchers, government inspectors and members of the Russian Geographical Society (representatives of the Khakassia Republic Branch) involved in the counting will walk along 14 routes with a total length of more than 150 km.


Such systematic work helps estimate the population size of the main species of mammals, while comparing the statistics gives an idea of ​​changes in the state of groups of certain animal species.