Digest November 2021

Prioksko-Terrasny State Reserve announces the completion of the eighth stage of the inter-regional environmental education competition project “12 Wonders of the Prioksky Forest”! The theme of this autumn stage was a representative of the family of the Siberian polecat – the badger. As part of the contest we invited participants to write an artistic story about this secretive inhabitant of our forests, the device of his home, the preparation for the winter season. It is interesting to know how Vladimir Murzin described the badger’s “housing problem”: “Not every man can boast of his own house and a dacha, but a badger can! First, every badger and his family have their own permanent “home” in which their entire family lives. Similar to our, human apartments or houses – “family nests”. And secondly, each badger has also temporary burrows, in which he hides as necessary. The design of such burrows is more simple, in some ways – analogues to our “countryhouses”. But, unlike us humans, badger never moves into the “secondary”. The main “house” and “countryhouse”, he always builds himself.

November 1, 2021 begins a new stage, devoted to representatives of fauna and flora typical for the territory of Prioksko-Terrasny State Nature Reserve. Hardworking beavers harvest bark of trees and bushes on the banks of reservoirs. These animals are true engineers of the wildlife. Having come to a new territory, the beaver changes it to suit its needs, actively engaged in construction. Nowadays, traces of beavers’ life activity can be found everywhere on the territory of the Prioksko-Terrasny State Biosphere Reserve, but it has not always been like this.

The emergence of the bison nursery in the Moscow region was caused by a number of circumstances of a geopolitical nature. At the end of the Great Patriotic War, 20 European bison ended up in the territory of Eastern Europe liberated by the Soviet Union. After the collapse of the USSR, the main bison breeding areas turned out to be outside the Russian Federation, and the leaders of the new states went to actively break off all relations with our country, including in terms of efforts to revive the bison. It is very good that the basic bison breeding centers were located on the territory of Russia: the Central Bison Nursery and the nursery of the Oka reserve. The presence of the bison gene pool in our country preserves Russia’s status as a world bison power! Thus, when the Prioksko-Terrasny cluster was established as part of the Moscow Reserve, a bison nursery has been planned on this territory. As early as the middle of 1949, the Central Bison Nursery began to carry out its main task: breeding animals. Results were expected in 1950. And indeed, on May 11, a bison cub was born, nicknamed Moskvityanin, who is rightfully considered the first-born of the nursery.

Last Monday, November 15, on the territory of the forestry Prioksko-Terrasny State Nature Biosphere Reserve the fire season of 2021 ended. This year it has been open since April 19. “Its peculiarities are abnormally high summer temperatures throughout the country and in the Moscow region, which were followed by squally winds and downpours. And stable warm autumn increased the risk of forest fires”, – said Andrei Razin, Deputy Chairman of the Government of Moscow Region and Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources Management. The end of the period is conditioned by stable rainy autumn weather, decrease of average daily temperatures and decrease of fire danger in forests. For the reserve the fire-dangerous season of 2021 passed without emergency situations. During the period from April 19 to November 15, no fires took place in the territory under protection.

Employees of the Department of Environmental Education, Cultural Tourism and Development of the Prioksko-Terrasny State Reserve participated in a training seminar on “The Practice of Ecological Trails in Protected Areas”. The workshop was organized by the ANO Ecocenter “Zapovedniks” and was held from November 15-20 in the Visitor Center of the Ugra National Park. During the training course, specialists of our nature reserve created ecological trails: they developed a concept of an ecological trail, received basic information about the step-by-step development of conceptual and working designs, worked with contractors, designers and architects.

The main task of the Central Bison Nursery is to replenish free-living populations with bison born here. In accordance with the bison dispersal strategy, we regularly take our charges out into the wild. On November 23, 2021, four European bison from the Central European Bison Nursery were taken to Smolenskoye Poozyorye National Park for permanent residence. For the next month, all the bison in our group will spend in their usual conditions – in a paddock. They will be “quarantined” – a common measure necessary for the adaptation of animals to new conditions.

The bison is a plant-eating animal. In summer, food is everywhere. In the nursery, one animal eats several tens of kilograms of green grass per day and receives mixed fodder. In winter, only bark and shoots of bushes and grass, not covered with snow, are available. Therefore, to keep the bison healthy and to enable them to bring healthy calves in spring, the nursery organizes an annual intensive winter-feeding. Hay harvested in summer is excellent for this purpose. However, the bison also need succulent fodder. Irina Zemlyanko, deputy director for bison keeping and breeding: “This year it is very difficult to find succulent fodder – nobody has planted beet forage. We unsuccessfully searched for the possibility to buy necessary root crops through the Ministry of Agriculture all over Russia. Fortunately, the reserve has friends”. The bison already taste the treats with pleasure. Adult animals eat carrots whole and baby carrots are grated.

Prioksko-Terrasny State Reserve announces the completion of the ninth stage of the interregional environmental education competition project “12 Wonders of the Prioksky Forest”! The theme of the last autumn month was the beaver. We asked you to prepare a story about this once-rare animal for the Moscow region. So why is the beaver so important? The winner of the contest writes: “If there are many beavers, will they fell all the trees in the forest?  The forest would die, wouldn’t it? But don’t worry, the forest won’t go anywhere: beavers never go far from the river. When beavers are gone, the grassy meadows and young growths open up for hares to feed on, ponds appear, and toads, frogs, ducks, and countless water invertebrates will certainly inhabit them”.