Hares, squirrels and beavers: taking stock of the inhabitants of Moscow’s natural areas

January 1
Parks and pedestrian areas

Mospriroda experts are to begin the winter survey of animals by studying their tracks in Moscow’s natural areas. This will help them to determine their number within a vast space as well as their species composition.

A special method

The survey is based on winter route counts. This method was developed to measure game resources in hunting grounds. In Moscow it helps monitor the quality and stability of the natural areas’ ecosystems. The core condition for such surveys is that there must be snow, so that the animals’ tracks are clearly visible. Control measurements are usually done on the next day after a night snowfall. If there is no snowfall, experts wipe out old tracks first and record the new ones the next day.

Winter surveys are performed along the intended routes, which do not change from year to year. This keeps the error rate to a minimum. Ecologists register the number of tracks crossing the route and then mark the points of their intersection and the animal and bird species on the map or in the GPS navigator.

Hares are counted in winter

In Moscow’s natural areas the survey of birds and animals will start in December and continue until mid-March, i.e. while the snow cover remains.

During the winter route surveys in January-March  2020, the experts discovered a fox, a weasel with kits and a squirrel in Tsaritsyno nature and history park . European hares, squirrels, a racoon dog and a wild boar were found in Moskvoretsky nature and history park. The experts also detected tracks left by European hares, foxes, mountain hares, weasels, minks, ermines, pine martens and squirrels in Bitsevsky forest park.

Foxes, squirrels and weasels were detected in Kuzninki-Lyublino nature and history park. Squirrels, weasels, pine martens and European hares left tracks in Izmailovo and Kosinsky nature and history parks. In addition, squirrels were spotted in the Kuskovo forest park and weasels in Zelenogradsky nature reserve.

Beavers left their tracks in the Chermyanka River valley from Proyezd Dezhneva to its entry nature sanctuary and in Ostankino nature and history park. The experts saw tracks made by the animals’ paws, bark strippings and wintering grounds (lodges and nests) on the banks of the Yauza and Chermyanka. Specialists also found squirrels’ tracks in Sokolniki nature and history park, Dolgiye Prudy fauna reserve, Severny natural reserve, Lianozovsky landscape reserve and Altufyevsky integrated nature reserve.

Source: mos.ru

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