As a part of the project «Rescue of the Khamar-Daban group of the forest subspecies of the wild reindeer in the central part of the Khamar-Daban range», with the financial support of the Lake Baikal Foundation, the study of a rare species of the Baikal Reserve continues.
We would like to remind you that a year ago, as a part of this project, the first expedition took place in order to identify new and previously known habitats for an isolated group of wild reindeer (forest subspecies), camera traps were also installed to more accurately count the Red List animal.
This summer, during field work, scientists checked the camera traps installed earlier, and also continued to explore the mountain tundra of the Baikal Reserve. For 9 days of the expedition, they covered more than 150 km, including about 100 km in the habitats of the species. As a result, the researchers were able to register traces of a wild reindeer (excrement and footprints on the ground) in those places where it was only supposed to be found there.
To detect wild reindeer, scientists used a quadrocopter. This made it possible not only to increase the survey area, but also to explore hard-to-reach snowfields located on steep slopes. The area surveyed using a quadrocopter was about 2.5 km2, the shooting lasted about 30 minutes. According to the data obtained during the field work, it was found that the number of wild reindeer is at least 23 individuals. Thus, long-term monitoring data confirm that the number of wild reindeer is consistently low.
All materials received from camera traps are currently being processed. Their analysis will allow to determine the current state of a rare species, namely:
- its number;
- sex and age composition of the population;
- the presence of predators and their influence on the grouping of wild reindeer.
Alexey Kitaev, head of the project, shared plans for the project:
As part of the expedition, the main habitats of this species were preliminary clarified, network of installed camera traps will make it possible to determine the current state of the reindeer in the central part of the Khamar-Daban range. We planned to process the materials obtained during the expeditions in 2021 and 2022, map the sightings of wild reindeer and its traces, prepare preliminary recommendations for the conservation of a rare animal species, and conduct seminars for employees of the Baikal Nature Reserve and the Tunkinsky National Park.
We remind you that the project «Rescue of the Khamar-Daban group of the forest subspecies of the wild reindeer in the central part of the Khamar-Daban range» is the winner of the Baikal Initiative grant competition, organized by the Lake Baikal Foundation with the support of the World Around You Foundation of Siberian Wellness.