At the end of the XIX century. wood jungle, covering the slopes of the Southern and Middle Urals, lost in the wilderness and nicely furnished, like candles, spruce and fir trees in several girths of thickness and a couple of dozen meters leaving skyward, deep lakes with emerald-blue water, thundering rapids of big and small rivers, there were still almost unknown enlightened residents of European Russia.
I was for many years interested in the mystery of a unique population of beavers, which for centuries from generation to generation Voguls transmit information like fiction. In 1870-ies. who was in the Ob basin zoologist IS Polyakov wrote about them: «There is an animal in the Ob region is very valuable and is now living out the last days in the true sense of the word. Before it was common in Western Siberia on a fairly wide area, now worn only rumors about its existence in several separate locations. The animal is — beaver. A hundred years ago, he was driven back in many rivers flowing into the Ob and Irtysh lower; there are now living Ostiaks-old men, fathers and grandfathers hunted beavers here … Rumor has it that the beavers were present only in the upper reaches of the Sosva. » In one of the villages Polyakov could still buy «five beaver skins, unfortunately, poorly shot, and little suitable for research purposes.»
The question of the Ural beavers remained open until the beginning of the 1890s. Opinion, in spite of the evidence collected IS Polyakova the existence of an isolated population of animals, many scientists do not trust. A further contribution to the study of the Ural Beaver made two writers, two expert life of northern natives of Russian North and Siberia — Konstantin Dmitrievich bore (1858-1923) and Paul Porfirevich Infanta (1860-1913). For the first time wore heard of Ural beavers in the 1880s. When traveling on the Northern Urals, making his way out of the pool to the Pechora and Ob are in the upper reaches of the Northern Sosva. «In 1883, during a trip to North Sosva, I was lucky enough to get through one beaver pelt Voguls River Tap-sui, who was walking on purpose, at my request to the homes of beavers on the river Nyur (a tributary of the river Konda). Unfortunately, this is the only skin mined for the museum has been without a head. «
After this trip wore set out to get the beaver pelt, then transfer it to the Zoological Museum. He found that animals live on the river. Sculpt, one of the tributaries of the Great Sosva. . He wore rasprosy Voguls hunting and beaver populations in other rivers of the Urals. Proof of the existence here of beavers «were being brought sometimes irbit fair Siberian natives to sell the skins of these animals. But this fact did not seem convincing; it argued that the skin can get the fair chance, God knows of any places, but not from the Ural River. «
The second time try your luck and see firsthand the beast wore decided in 1892, the benefit here and had a good reason — in August in Moscow, I had to go through the World Congress of Naturalists. A tireless researcher took a peculiar obligation to the Russian Academy of Sciences — get and bring to Moscow especially for this scientific forum of the Ural Beaver. During a meeting with the then just beginning researcher and writer PP Infantiev wore invited him to go along on the river. Condo to stay «forest people» — Voguls Tobolsk Province. It was the search for trans-Ural beavers to begin more winter 1892 (and extended in 1893, a few months) expedition.
I would like to acquaint the reader with excerpts from travel notes of travelers for Urals beaver.
From the Notes PP Infantiev
«On the way to the condo we always questioned about the interest to our animals and the hunters, hunted them, and we pointed out Aranturtsev, as it was known that the beavers around Arantura were carried out …
Swim across the lake Aranturskoe (a long time, it was part of the condo Sosvinsky State Reserve. — N. Vekhov), we rode straight into the forest, all flooded with water, to which were to go to reduce the path of ten kilometers to the river Konda. The air imperturbable silence, water precisely mirror the terms of the trunks of thick forests, the trees hurt us in the face, and now and then we had to maneuver not to sit between the birches. Top and bottom of the deep blue. And fancies that fly through the air among some fleet, and only the jet by sliding on the water boats disturb this idyll. At times there, here vsporhnёt flock of wild ducks and shouting rise above our heads.
Finally, on the third day of the voyage we reached the river Uh, wherein the guide. By noon seemed Urman. Urmanov Voguls called places covered exclusively pine. Huge trees were planted here are rarely apart as a park. There was no sign of any fallen trees or thickets like someone specially engaged in clearing the forest. This Urman lasted several tens of miles inland, and rife with elk and deer. Here, half a mile from the shore, was a hunting camp.
We wasted no time went on, as the beaver construction is just two miles from the encampment. Timothy (conductor-Voguls. — N. Vekhov) pointed me to a thick tree trunk lying in the river, saying it bit the beaver tree. At first I thought he was joking, because for some reason it seems that if a beaver and is able to cut the trees, but in any case no thicker 1/2 inches, lot 2 in diameter, while above them the tree It had a diameter of more than a quarter of a yard. But he again pointed to another timber, even thicker. This time we were sailing very close to the tree and looked at his butt, I saw that it really was like a cut with some sharp instrument. Java amazement considered that it was not the work of man: on the butt of the teeth marks could be seen clearly that the beaver worked like knife. Soon we more and more often began to appear like the trunks of birch and aspen; branches they had too, as if cut off, and the trunks were almost completely naked.
The two beaver houses are currently inhabited: last fall Voguls hunter killed here a beaver, and the rest moved, probably somewhere above. About this beaver populations fathoms, at least twenty into the forest lay a lot of trunks piled thick birch and aspen, and the thick forest thinned considerably from the work of beavers. The trunks of some of felled trees to reach poluarshinna or more in diameter. We still swam three miles up the river, and all this space, and on the other side of the trunks could see huge trees (birch and aspen), lying on the ground, and stumps sticking out, however, already darkened; fresh work was nowhere to be seen. Clearly, now near beaver not.
The pit is filled with water, this is now, it was possible to investigate not only as only with the gaff, captured by us in any case on the road. This hook, I soon felt at home beaver hole, goes straight into the river, on the bank of which there was a building. Also, I got out of the pit a few gnawed pieces of birch and aspen, but a large tuft of grass, is perhaps the litter.
Timothy began to assure me that the beaver is a two-story home, and that under the first hole must be another, lower, which beaver away when the water in the river subsides. I began to carefully probe the pit, and indeed my gaff soon fell more yard and a half deep. As far as can be concluded to the touch, the first floor is separated from the second poles, brushwood and turf.
According to Timothy, who himself was once hunted for beavers and heard from other hunters involved in the fishery at a time when it was profitable, beavers in the winter go to other homes, but what are these last, no one has never happened to see . In all likelihood, beavers dig somewhere in the beach, underwater holes and freeze them. Sometimes in the winter hunters it happened to meet near the summer of buildings, for the most part on the opposite side, rows of birch and aspen stakes driven into the river bottom. These stakes are beavers food for the winter. One of these stakes, we found not far from the studied buildings. This number, though not particularly thick, had a half fathoms in length and was stuck upper, thinner end into the bottom of the river so fast that we barely managed from a boat to get him out. In addition to birch and aspen, willow and beavers gnaw willow and other trees do not touch. Two miles from the buildings we found on the banks of two thick, but short stump (each was at least a quarter in diameter and no more than poluarshinna length), the purpose of which I could not identify. Voguls assured that these stumps beavers they prepare themselves for the winter for food and hide them under water, probably to spare holes. «
From the notes of KD Nosilova
Sputnik PP Infantiev — KD Nosilovu, was more fortunate. He was able to see the live beavers and collect extensive data on the status of the beaver population.
«15-25 years ago hunters beavers there were many, because the fishery was considered the most dobychlivym. Then beavers were carried out even on the lake Arantur. They were beaten, of course, all sorts of ways, literally chasing everywhere put their traps and trails crossbows, or simply to find a settlement of beavers, beat them here from the bows when they seem on the surface of the water coming out of their houses through underground passage. This persecution was the main reason that the beaver has become a rarity even in these secluded places, and there was only here on these rivers and in the tops of them, far from the man …
Only in the evening of the second day we came ashore Sousmy — a small forest wild river with low-lying shores, overgrown birch and pine forests, where it found the first beaver building. She was lifeless on the shore have someone dilapidated. Not far from this little earth pits barrows could be seen — traces of excavation beaver homes. Industrialists sneak up to the buildings, and stopped access to the water and scooped the beast with the cubs, the most ruthless manner destroying his entire family. Going along the river Nyur, we have consistently met the traces of the beaver, who then apparently once lived quite a numerous company. But the traces are not talking here about the existence of a beaver is now — he was already ruined man.
A little higher on this river we found a place where they prepare their own food Beavers: merry birch grove, grown on the steep river meander, almost surrounded by water. Probably, this circumstance has attracted beavers because the water could easily drag the heavy birch logs.
After the two rivers, we killed only one beaver skaraulivshi his night light on a single whirlpool. It was a hefty, weighing in a peck, a male effigy which is now kept in the museum of the University of Moscow. «
So, two travelers in a few months did what to them could not be anyone: they brought to the Academy of Sciences of the skeleton, skin and other evidence of the existence of the Urals, in forest thickets Ob, real sparse on livestock populations of beaver. That extracted KD Nosilovym instance, are still stored in the Zoological Museum of Moscow University zoologist MK Serebrennikov in 1929 described the subspecies Beaver — West Siberian. From the nominate subspecies (typical of European beavers) svetloryzhevatoy it different colors and some structural features of the skull. The same specimen was used by Professor VN Skalon in his monograph «beaver North Asia» (1951).