Sayano-Shushenskiy Nature Reserve published annotated reference of reserve’s tetrapoda

09:59 AM

Tetrapoda of Sayano-Shushenskiy Nature Reserve

The reference “Tetrapoda of Sayano-Shushenskiy Nature Reserve” has been published recently. It contains an annotated list of tetrapoda with color photos. The list has been compiled on the basis of records made in Nature Chronicles during 1978–2014. The book includes scientific articles referring to the reserve.

Previous edition of the reference included only 52 tetrapoda species. The new edition contains 70 species, including reptiles and mammals that were not recorded before: cheiroptera, beaver, Pallas’s cat, beech marten and others.

The significance of the Sayano-Shushenskiy Nature Reserve’s activity is revealed through its history of creation. The reserve was established in 1976 as a compensatory measure for preserving nature around the Sayano-Shushenskaya Dam when it was constructed. When the plant started operating, many natural complexes, primarily habitats of long-tailed ground squirrels and beavers, were destroyed. Seasonal changes in water levels made it impossible for otter to stay there. The group of Siberian ibex was divided by the reservoir into three isolated populations. Only by XXI century the reservoir’s coastline was finally shaped, and the flora and fauna adapted to natural conditions: the reserve’s ecosystems became stable and the changes in them were smaller than natural fluctuations, so they could be regarded as normal.

Species enlisted in reference

Before the Sayano-Shushenskiy Nature Reserve was created, the flora and fauna of those areas were not studied. There were no publications or scientific articles on mammals of Western Sayan, except several papers on Muridae and Cricetidae families and sable. The descriptions of mammals inhabiting those areas appeared only after the reserve was created. The scientists made lists of species, their distribution and behavior. Every year the results of studies were published in the Nature Chronicles of the Sayano-Shushenskiy Nature Reserve. Then the articles were published in bulletins, scientific conference proceedings, and collections of scientific papers.

Most outstanding works are the papers of Boris Zavatsky and Timur Mukhamediev on distribution and biology of animal species. Boris Zavatsky and Timur Mukhamediev published the first annotated reference of the Sayano-Shushenskiy Nature Reserve’s mammals in 2000. It contained 52 species.

In 2004 Boris Zavatsky wrote a book entitled “Snow leopard, brown bear, and gray wolf of the Sayano-Shushenskiy Nature Reserve”. In the book he summarized all information that had been collected for nearly half a century since the reserve’s creation. The large collection of materials on wolf’s biology and diet is the most impressive.

Pallas's cat

Start of using camera traps in 2008 marks a new level of research. The number of camera traps increases, the geography extends, and the research methods develop. Installed to study the snow leopard’s distribution and biology, the cameras gave scientists information about other species. Thus, the cameras recorded Pallas’s cat and beech marten, so the scientists found out that these species inhabit the reserve and defined their area of distribution. The camera traps helped to identify 14 snow leopards and create their passports in 2009–2014.

In 2013 Sergey Istomov (researcher of the Sayano-Shushenskiy Reserve’s Research Department), together with his colleagues from the Environmental Education and Tourism and Recreation departments, published a book “The snow leopard of the Western Sayan”.

That is how new technologies helped researchers to find new species in the reserve that were included into the latest edition of the reference. The reference will be of interest to zoologists, students, biology teachers, and also naturalists who want to learn about biodiversity of the reserve. The illustrations of high quality will make reading even more enjoyable.

We hope that the book will contribute to understanding the importance of nature and biodiversity conservation. We also believe that research and educational activities of the reserve will help us to protect and recover plant and animal species that are at risk of extinction.

Source: press service of the Sayano-Shushenskiy State Nature Biosphere Reserve.

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