Yamal to conduct elk and wild reindeer count
© RIA Novosti. Vladimir Astapkovich

Yamal to conduct elk and wild reindeer count

Specialists will conduct a full wildlife count in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area until mid-March. During this time, teams will cover more than 660 routes with a total length of almost 5,500 km and collect data on the density and number of game animals and birds. The counts will inform measures to regulate wild populations, and to establish s hunting quotas.

Route-based winter wildlife counts are carried out annually from January to March throughout Russia, with the exception of the country’s southern regions, where there is no snow cover. Specialists record the tracks animals leave in the snow daily as well as visual encounters with them. In the Arctic region, the count is carried out both in forest areas as well as in protected areas. Almost half of the routes have already been covered thanks to the relatively mild weather in the region.

“We have recorded an increase in the number of ungulates – moose and wild reindeer – on all the routes we traveled throughout the area. In addition to the increase in ungulates in the area, we have had frequent encounters with predators – wolves and wolverine. We also encountered wild reindeer in the Shurishkarsky District. Most likely, they are from the protected reindeer population living in the mountains of the Polar Urals,” said Sergei Shnaider, deputy director of the regional service for the protection, control and regulation of the use of biological resources.

The researchers noted sable and white hare tracks, and spotted capercaillies and willow ptarmigans in the Verkhnepoluysky Nature Sanctuary in addition to moose.

According to experts, the number of animals has increased thanks to, among other things, the measures to protect and safeguard them from poachers, as well as the work done to improve the habitat through biotechnical efforts.