Biota and Environment of Natural Areas

Volkov A.E.

Forest roads and swaths as sites for monitoring large carnivores by camera traps (on the example of the Kerzhensky Nature Reserve)

Year: 2020, Number: 4, Pages: 68-94

In 2016–2019 in the Kerzhensky State Nature Reserve (Nizhegorodskaya oblast, Russia, (56.38793–56.61985 N, 44.74363–45.27117 E) observations for brown bear (Ursus arctos), Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) and grey wolf (Canis lupus) were conducted by camera traps. We used eight camera traps (KeepGuard) located at forest roads and swaths, the traps effort was 6 892 camera days. Relative abundance index and population density were estimated. Results of the analysis of animal behavior, including daily activity and season activity, are presented. Population density of lynxes and brown bears in the “road biotope” in the Kerzhensky Reserve are similar to optimal biotopes of these species because of how often these animals move along forest roads. In the period of deep snow, lynxes and wolves change their main routes, often moving off-road. Data of camera traps in October-November, the period in which large wolf packs are created, provide impartial assessment of animal abundance in comparison with track counts in the winter. Lynxes and wolves are most active at night and during the twilight hours. In the spring and summer, wolf activity increases in daylight hours. Brown bears are active both at nighttime and during the day. For an estimate of these mammals’ abundance at the nature reserve, it is necessary to develop the network of camera traps in the main biotopes out of forest roads.

Full text