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27 December 2022, 18:28

Winter bison count kicks off in Belovezhskaya Pushcha

BREST, 27 December (BelTA) – The Belovezhskaya Pushcha national park has started the annual bison count, BelTA learned from the scientific department of the national park.

The count will continue throughout the winter. Bisonologists, mammalogists, rangers, employees of the scientific department are involved in the work. Modern means are used to keep records of animals not only by visual ground method, but also from the air. Therefore, snow is completely unnecessary for this.

"In recent years, we have generally relied on quadcopters. From the tower, with the help of binoculars, we keep a visual record of animals as they gather near the feeding sites. The quadcopter provides for more accurate data. It shoots at different heights, in motion, on difficult terrain. In open spaces, you can take a high-quality picture and more accurately count and identify animals by sex and age,” said Sergei Korotya, a researcher at the park.

The territory of the Belovezhskaya Pushcha occupies 180,000 hectares. It is impossible to explore all of it in three months. Therefore, the employees of the national park mainly work in open spaces relying on the preliminary data provided by rangers. "They know where the bison live, and we go there," said the employee of the scientific department.

Five large herds live in the forest. They sometimes rally together into territorial groupings, then they part their ways. The most numerous of them is the southern one (comprising almost every second bison of the national park). In recent years, there has been a constant increase in the number of livestock: in five years it has increased by almost a third. Meanwhile, scientists consider the population of up to 350 individuals to be a balanced bison micropopulation in Belovezhskaya Pushcha.

According to the latest records, as of 1 January 2022, 703 bison lived in the forest, including 117 adult males (older than three and a half years), 402 adult females, 107 young animals (from one year to 3.5 years) and 77 calves.

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