ISSN 10674136, Russian Journal of Ecology, 2011, Vol. 42, No. 3, pp. 231–235. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2011.
Original Russian Text © N.S. Korytin, 2011, published in Ekologiya, 2011, No. 3, pp. 204–208.
The changes in socioeconomic conditions in the
early 1990s substantially affected the commercialhunt
ing branch of national economy. The activities of the
organizations involved in pelt trade with professional
hunters drastically reduced, and the purchasing prices
of pelts considerably dropped; as a result, pelt trade
almost ceased or decreased to a minimum. It became
unprofitable for hunters to hunt for fur. The consumer
cooperation, the main purchaser of pelts in the Soviet
Union, stopped buying pelts in the early 1990s. The
decreased market for pelts of wild fur animals impelled
other organizations to cease the trade too.
About the mid1990s, commercial hunting, which
had been a strong factor of mortality in populations of
fur species of predatory mammals, disappeared or, at
least, became considerably weaker. This gave
researchers a unique opportunity to evaluate the effect
of hunting as a factor of mortality on populations of
the objects of commercial hunting. Decomposition of
mortality into factors in animals of average sizes is
practically impossible without special studies with
marking and subsequent tracing of individual animals.
Therefore, it was interesting to analyze how species
of fur animals responded to the decrease in the mortal
ity rate. The purpose of this study was to compare the
population dynamic curves before and after the mid
MATERIALS AND METHODS
We studied six species of predatory animals: the
sable, marten, lynx, fox, Siberian weasel, and ermine.
Official data on their numbers in Sverdlovsk oblast,
Russia were used. There were official data of winter
route census only for 45 large municipal divisions of
Sverdlovsk oblast. The municipal divisions were
united into five regions (Pogodin, 1996; Bol’shakov
et al., 2009), which almost coincided with the land
scape–forest vegetation subdivision of Sverdlovsk
oblast according to Kolesnikov (1973). The north
western region corresponded to the northern and mid
dle taiga districts of the Northern Ural and, partly,
Middle Ural LowHill and Transural Foothill prov
inces. Regarding landscapes, these were low and mid
dle hills with welldeveloped relief. The northeastern
region was located in the area of northern and middle
taiga forests of the Ob Flatland–Bog and Transural
Flatland provinces. Regarding landscapes, these were
heavily waterlogged areas with poorly developed relief.
The Central region occupied the most part of the Ural
LowHill and Transural Foothill provinces, namely,
southern taiga districts; this was a slightly waterlogged
area with welldeveloped relief. The southwestern region
occupied the conifer–broadleaf and northern forest–
steppe forests in the Cisural Foothill Province, Yuryu
zan’–Sylva Depression, and Ufa Plateau. This was the
only group located on the western macroslope of the Ural
Mountains. The southeastern region comprised prefor
est–steppe pine–smallleaved and forest–steppe dis
tricts of the Transural Flatland Province.
For most species studied, we analyzed as long pop
ulation dynamic curves as possible (the period from
1970 to 2010). The numbers of sables have recorded
since the year 1983. It is generally accepted that the
hunting rate for fur animals have remained at the min
imum level since the mid1990s.
The observed population growth rate (
) was esti
mated according to Caughley (1979):
Changes in the Numbers of Predatory Mammals in the Middle Urals
Caused by Anthropogenic Factors
N. S. Korytin
Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology, Ural Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences,
ul. Vos’mogo Marta 202, Yekaterinburg, 620144 Russia
Received September 13, 2010
—Degradation of fur hunting in the mid1990s allowed the impact of hunting on some species of
predatory mammals to be estimated. The numbers of sables, martens, foxes, and lynx were demonstrated to
slowly decrease in the period of intense hunting; after pelt trade ceased, the numbers of sables, martens, and
foxes increased by a factor of three within 15 years. Ermines and Siberian weasels had not experienced a sub
stantial hunting pressure; changes in their numbers were caused by other factors.
: sable, marten, fox, ermine, Siberian weasel, lynx, numbers, commercial hunting.