The number of bighorn sheep in Kamchatka halved due to hunting

The number of bighorn sheep that live in the Kronotsky reserve in Kamchatka, in the last ten years has been reduced by almost half because of hunting for them in the areas adjacent to a nature reserve and the reduction of pasture, the deputy director of Kronotsky reserve for research Vladimir Mosolov.

"Over the past ten years, the number of sheep in the reserve decreased from 550-600 to 300-350 individuals. Moreover maximum decline was observed in the border areas of the reserve, where the animals come to feed abroad protected area. Fact that the boundaries of the reserve are along mountain ridges. turns out that one half of the ridge reserved, and the second — is open to hunting. Sometimes it is about 200-300 meters. situation can change only the creation of protected areas, covering all ranges of the whole, "- said the scientist RIA Novosti.

Accounting for sheep in the Upper Bogachevki, on the slopes of volcanoes Gamchen and Schmidt, on the ridge of a ridge and had a staff Valagin Kronotsky reserve and biological resources of the Caspian Institute of the Dagestan Scientific Center, Russian Academy of Sciences.

According to scientists, the cause of reducing the number of sheep was also a reduction in the area of winter pastures. Cedar and alder elfin literally drive the sheep to feed impoverished top of the ridge. In the 70 years of XX century elfin rose to a height of 700 meters, but now they are growing at an altitude of 1300-1400 meters.

"We put forward two hypotheses. First is that the mass shooting of animals in 60-70 years has meant that the remaining sheep simply do not have time to eat away grazing, so elfin" won "all new heights. Now small forage reserves limit the number itself sheep. second assumption specialists — creeping sprawl associated with global climate change, "- the director of the Caspian Institute of Biological Resources Sciences, Magomed-Rasul Magomedov.

The exact number of sheep living in the reserve will be announced in November, when the data will be processed with the maps and historical records, said Mosolov.

"The task was not only to specialists find animals, but also to investigate the population structure — the ratio of females to males, the number of young, the population growth. Conclusions after the very first expedition in the central areas of the reserve are many large males older than 14 years. Moreover the border areas and adjacent ridges where animals often go beyond the protected area, almost no males older than five years "- the experts of the reserve.

Kronotsky Nature Reserve was established in 1934 on the site of existing since 1882 "Sable reserve" in Kronokah for the protection and study of unique natural complexes of Kamchatka. The total area of the reserve is 1.14 million hectares. At the reserve there were 35 falls and eight active volcanoes. Reserve brought international fame such natural phenomena as the Valley of Geysers and caldera caldera.

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