Bison were counted in the Caucasian Reserve

Bison were counted in the Caucasian Reserve

In winter,  ungulates census, with the exception of some places, is carried out only from the air. From year to year, groups of bison choose alpine meadows for wintering, where snow is blown by the winds and exposes the ground, opening access to the food supply. Bison are able to dig up a layer of snow up to 45 centimeters in search of food. If the weather is unfavorable and the snow level is higher than this value, they have to move to other mountainous areas, or feed on tree branches, but their supply is limited. During the bird's-eye view, the following were examined: the Weedy Ridge, the Tryu- Yatyrgvarta massif and Bambaki - Port Arthur. All the sites were recorded in the photo.

"We have been conducting winter accounting for 5 years, during which time we have collected data that allows us to explore in dynamics what happened last winter, the year before last, 4 years ago at the same site. This gives us a critically accurate idea of the wintering conditions of bison," said Sergey Shevelev, director of the Caucasian Reserve.

There is a significant difference between summer and winter accounting: the main task of the summer is to clarify the population size, while in winter the herd is analyzed.

"Summer accounting, or in another way, marriage accounting, is the main type of accounting when we collect information about a population: its size, spatial structure. Winter aviation accounting, in turn, is not focused on accurate counting of the number of individuals, the main focus is the structural features of herds wintering in the highlands," Nikolay Eskin, Deputy Director of the Caucasian Reserve for Scientific Work.

After the wintering sites have been identified from the air, the most trained researchers are sent to them to determine how many males, females, fingerlings, two–year–olds there are in the herd. The specialists of the reserve also assess the feeding capacity of the territory. During the aerial survey, about 300 bison were visually noted, the exact figures will be known after processing the photo and video material.
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