Maral — big, beautiful animal, is a jewel of mountain landscapes. Live weight of adult males up to 400 kg, and the height at the withers — 160 cm; females are slightly smaller. Maral have long served hunted. Besides a large number of meat and fat, they give a good skin, but also the male antlers — young neokostenevshie horns, drugs which are widely used for medicinal purposes. Ossified antlers are used for handicrafts and as a decoration. In folk (especially eastern) medicine are used marals many organs, so-called secondary pantovaya products.
The first information about Maralah reported in his writings Pallas, who visited Altai in the second half of the XVIII century. Later, many researchers are interested in this valuable animal, but rather complete study of its biology was carried out only after the organization of the Altai State Reserve, in the thirties of this century.
The study of literature makes it possible to form some idea of the vibrations of the borders of the dissemination of deer in the Altai region and its population. Once the red deer might have been an inhabitant of mostly plains, not mountains, as is the case at present. P. Rychkov (1762) wrote: «Maral — beast steppe …»
By the time of a visit to the Altai Pallas these animals have only lived in the mountains, to the foothills of the West (Pool Alley) and forest in the north-west (the confluence of the Biya with Katun).
By the middle of the XIX century. the boundary of the spread of deer moved further east, to the western spurs Tigiretskogo, Korgon, and Baschelakskogo Anuyskogo ridges (Zaleski, 1934). Thus, a century ago, modern territory of the Gorno-Altai Autonomous Region has been, it is fully populated, and in the west, he lived in Charyshsky, Altai and Soloneshensky District of the Altai Territory.
Currently, red deer found in the Altai, mostly east of the Katun and the scope of it covers only about half of the territory occupied by Altai Mountains. Thus, during each of the last two centuries in the Altai deer habitat was reduced by about one quarter.
All researchers engaged in the study ever deer unanimously attributed the process of reducing its range primarily to the anthropic factor. Indeed, Mara has always been the most important for the local people hunted. Mining and produced it in large size, very close to the annual increase in population, and sometimes even exceeding it. Yukhneva (1903) reports that the territory is now part of Gorno-Altai Autonomous Oblast, in 1896, 6600 was harvested hides and M 16 pairs of antlers. 8 while in maralnik contained about 3 thousand. Marals (Sidon, 1898); skin and panty of several hundreds of them are also received by the workpiece. There is no doubt that the destruction of the animals in such a scale could not last long, because even then the area of their distribution is only slightly above the present, though the density was much higher. Indeed, already in 1909 in the same area we have prepared only 450 skins (Dmitriev, 1938). And it is likely that a number is entered and the skins of red deer maralnik, which at that time was more. Thus, in just 13 years billet decreased by 10-12 times, which to some extent reflected the decline in inventories and a decrease in the dissemination of deer.
In those years, the Soviet government took the first steps for the protection of deer — in 1923 its production was banned. However, this decision was not backed up by practical measures and results has not given. Billets hunting products, including hides and antlers of red deer, various organizations have continued without restriction. Lots of red deer caught and to replenish maralnik.
ha. To the west of Lake Teletskoye at the same reserve was established to protect the area of game mammals and hundreds of thousands of hectares existed, unfortunately, only a few years.
The reserve, created in places where the time remained the largest number of red deer in the Altai, made it possible to save from destruction of a significant portion of the population. The presence of the reserve, as well as the weakening of «the press» hunting during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. once again led to some increase in the number of deer and even a small expansion of its range to the beginning of the fifties to the west (in the middle part of the basin of the Katun River, and at the bottom of the river Swan). Particularly noticeable increased reserves Mara Teletskoye Lake taiga — the density of animals for winter nomad camps are sometimes reached 15-20 individuals per 1 sq km.
However, subsequent events — the elimination of the reserve in 1951 and widely licensed hunting permit — led to the flourishing of poaching, which in turn caused a rapid decline in new stocks of deer. Short-term (1958-1961 biennium). Restoration reserve, of course, could not give any significant effect in increasing the number of animals., Especially the first. That winter, in addition to a sharp rise in deaths from normal reasons — predators, avalanches, poaching (for example, only in the tract Ooijer, near Lake Teletskoye in March 1966 in an area of 1-1.5 sq km have been discovered the remains of 13 killed poachers red deer), many animals died from exhaustion, that before many years have been noted.
For a quick liquidation of severe consequences for the red deer winter 1965/66 g, on the initiative of the public, and in 1967 the Gorno-Altai Regional Executive Committee decided to — to ban the shooting of animals for a period of 5 years before that licensed hunting of red deer was conducted with the aim of harvesting the antlers, and in the 1952-1965 biennium. allowed for the shooting and autumn harvesting meat. In 1964-1966. in the area harvested from 88 to 111 pairs of antlers (the plan is not executed), of which about a third part was frontal, export, so a shooting and resolution. The rest comes shear, and the quality of antlers were very low. The economic significance of this event was small, and the damage to the population of red deer cause significant as actually marals extracted significantly greater in many lands was wounded game, doomed to destruction.
Winter 1968-69 was also proved to be quite snowy and very severe, again led in some areas to increased death of red deer, and by the spring of 1969, the lands of the Altai had the lowest of the postwar years, the number of these animals. Overall, the Gorno-Altai Autonomous Region, according to our estimates are very approximate, it was about 4 thousand. Individuals. Area Distribution marals is about 3.5 million ha. consequently, the average density was a little more than one deer on 1,000 hectares.
The maximum density in the best lands of the Teletskoye Lake reached only 5-6 individuals of the same area.
Meanwhile, fodder and safety conditions in the most favorable hunting grounds of the Altai deer, and here, even without conducting any biotechnical activities (other than feeding in snowy winters), could well reside, without appreciable damage to the woody vegetation, 10-12 animals on 1,000 hectares, while in the territory occupied today marals number it would be about 40 thousand. individuals, and with the restoration of the area of distribution within the entire Altai reserves amounted to 100 thousand. heads. When such inventories annual shooting could bring up to 15-20 thousand. Animals.
What should be done to restore this number? First of all, completely eliminate poaching. It must be admitted that the existing system of protection of fauna end this scourge in the near future will not succeed. Hunting supervision bodies are weak, and the opportunities they have, are not used fully. Not only that, last year, at the initiative of the Department of hunting in the Gorno-Altaisk regional executive committee was an attempt to prematurely cancel a five-year ban on production of red deer.
In our opinion, should not allow the lambing as long as there is no truly restored fishing population density of red deer. It is necessary to gain a significant outreach in this area to the public by means of print, radio, film and television. In addition, in some areas, where the density of wolves has become too high, you should take the most energetic measures to limit their number, as predators in some places cause very significant damage to the population of red deer.
No other activities are carried out is not necessary, except for the already mentioned small animals by feeding rollers and other low-grade aspen trees in the winter nomad camps in the snowy winters. Naturally, you need a good organization of accounting activities, which should identify and map all winter camp and determine the number of red deer wintering there. Most camps have known. In the future, you can selectively control the number of red deer only a few nomad camps, and many land north-east of the Altai is the most convenient method proposed by the author of visual determination of the absolute number of the spring on the slopes of southern exposure.
In favorable conditions, population growth marals is 25-30%. This means that it will take only 10-12 years to restore the optimal size of their lands and the region. The term has historically acceptable, and other ways to restore stocks of deer, we do not know yet. The necessity of this work is evident.