The movement of wolves in the Exclusion Zone was observed with the help of a satellite for almost a year
Scientists from the Georgetown University of the United States, employees of the Polissya State Radiation and Ecological Reserve and specialists from the State Specialized Enterprise “EcoCenter” investigated wolves with special collars that allow measuring the accumulated dose of gamma radiation and hourly tracing of animal movements.
In autumn 2016, American scientists put collars on six wolves on the territory of Polissya State Radiation and Ecological Reserve (Republic of Belarus). Subsequently, one of the wolves moved to the Ukrainian part of the Exclusion Zone, and in July this year - two more animals were recorded in the area of the valley of the Pripyat River. As planned, the collars were automatically detached in August.
“We had coordinates, according to which one collar lay just at the road near the resettled village of Novoshepelychi, and the second - somewhere in the floodplain among the swamps and the old river beds. To find it, we had to bring a quadcopter and go over the marsh, knee-deep in the water. The equipment was taken away and handed over to Belarusian colleagues to analyze data from the gamma sensor”, - said Denis Vishnevsky, Head of Radiological and Ecological Monitoring Group of SSE “EcoCenter”.
According to Valery Dombrovsky, the senior researcher of the Polissya State Radiation and Ecological Reserve, the study of the wolf by the method of radio and satellite observation was considered to be one of the most accurate for estimation of the size and density of the population of this species.
The special program built a route that made it possible for scientists to visit places of animal halts using the obtained coordinates of the location of the wolves. So scientists have found that the length of wolves’ halts does not depend on the likelihood of finding a prey there. Sometimes mammals spent 12 consecutive hours in one place, just relaxing. And vice versa, after hunting a moose and eating to satiety, quickly left the place of dinner, so that after a while to return after it.