About 20 employees of the Kronotsky State Nature Biosphere Reserve started counting the "population" of the specially protected area using tracks. The main objects of winter route census are the species most characteristic of Kamchatka: hare, sable, fox, wolverine, wolf, elk, otter, and lynx. The annual event takes place in key areas – from the Pacific coast to the mountain tundra.
In total, the census takers will have to ski more than 400 kilometers. The staff at the reserve plan to simultaneously observe wild reindeer in the mountain tundra and collect genetic materials for further DNA research of the rare animals.
“Census takers were delivered to the tract Blue Dol, to the caldera of the volcano Uzon, to the field station ‘Cape of ancient camps’, the coast of the Semyachik estuary, to the central part of the reserve the Kronotsko-Bogachev tundra. Also, the census was taken on the coast of Kronotsky Bay and the Lazovsky section of the reserve. There is still little snow in all territories, we hope that there will be precipitation in March and it will be possible to carry out full-fledged census,” said Sergey Shevelev, deputy head of the security service of the Kronotsky State Reserve.
At the same time, aviation patrols were carried out in the reserve, during which no violations were revealed. A group of wild reindeer numbering about 20 specimens was spotted from the helicopter. The inspectors also managed to find more than 40 whooper swans wintering in the mouths of the rivers. Throughout the reserve there are a lot of traces of hares.
Winter route census is one of the most important environmental measures. It has been held in the Kronotsky Reserve since 1967. The number of animals is determined by the tracks in the snow. The data obtained from all sites are summarized according to a special methodology developed back in the 1930s. This method of estimating the relative abundance of the main animal species is still considered the most reliable and is widely used in Russian nature reserves. During the field work, data on the ecology and distribution of animals are also collected.