Winter counts underway in the Sayano-Shushensky Reserve

Winter counts underway in the Sayano-Shushensky Reserve

30 January 2023

Researchers and rangers of the Joint Administration of the Sayano-Shushensky Biosphere Reserve and Shushensky Bor National Park have started this year’s winter wildlife counts. Representatives of the Khakassia branch of the Russian Geographical Society are also taking part in the expeditions. 


These annual counts follow permanent routes throughout Russia and make it possible to describe the status of wildlife. On the first day of counts, researchers erase all tracks left in the snow and cover animal paths with snow. The next day, they mark and record all the new tracks, indicating the species, direction of movement and the number of animals that crossed the route.


In addition to tracks, the counts also take into account the number of prey killed by predators. After detecting a kill, researchers fill out a special card, indicating the prey’s species, sex, approximate age and, if possible, the predator. Similar cards are filled out for wildlife sightings on the routes. Such work is carried out not only during seasonal counts, but also during field trips. These efforts allow scientists to collect data about specific animal species in the reserve and the national park.


The winter counts will help determine the number of elk, Siberian roe deer, Siberian red deer, Siberian musk deer, lynxes, boars, wolves, foxes, hazel grouses, black grouses, capercaillies and other animals. Systematic counts make it possible to identify the population dynamics of observed species and determine the causes.