ISSN 10674136, Russian Journal of Ecology, 2009, Vol. 40, No. 5, pp. 351–355. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2009.
Original Russian Text © V.P. Starikov, S.A. Anchugov, 2009, published in Ekologiya, 2009, No. 5, pp. 372–377.
By the 20th century, beavers were nearly extermi
nated throughout the former USSR territory, includ
ing Kurgan oblast. Measures to reacclimate them ani
mals in this region were meager. Only once, in 1961,
were 31 beavers from Voronezh oblast released into
lakes of Yurgamyshskii raion. However, they failed to
settle there and migrated to the Miass River basin
1973). In the
early and mid1960s, hybrid beavers spontaneously
migrating from Tyumen oblast began to colonize water
bodies of Kurgan oblast (Azarov, 1995). The results of
their reacclimation and natural dispersal in this region
have not been studied to date.
This study was performed to assess the dynamics
and current state of European beaver population in
MATERIAL AND METHODS
The material was collected in the course of expedi
tions and stationary field studies in the Tobol, Iset’,
and Miass river basins between 1999 and 2007.
In 2000, we examined 19 beaver colonies consisting of
70 animals; in 2001, 39 colonies (144 ind.); in 2002,
52 colonies (182 ind.); in 2003, 48 colonies (149 ind.);
in 2004, 19 colonies (74 ind.); in 2005, 40 colonies
(150 ind.); in 2006, 30 colonies (115 ind.); and in
2007, 38 colonies (145 ind.).
From 1999 to 2001, channels of rivers and streams
were surveyed over a total distance on 220 km, and
coastal margins of closed water bodies, over 24.5 km.
The respective lengths of survey routes in subsequent
years were as follows: in 2002, 55 and 38.5 km; in
2003–2004, 60 and 20 km; in 2005, 150 and 66 km; in
2006, 75 and 20 km; and in 2007, 90 and 23.5 km.
The abundance of animals was estimated by an
ecostatistical method (Poyarkov, 1953; D’yakov,
1975). The age composition of a colony was assessed
using a morphoeciological approach (D’yakov, 1975).
The age of beavers aged over one year (
= 50) was
accurately determined from the number of annual
cementum layers in molars, which were counted in
longitudinal (Klevezal and Kleinenberg, 1967) and
oblique slices (Gologushko and Mochalov, 1978), and
also from the degree of pulp cavity closure in molars.
The age of young of the year was calculated on the
basis of data on the growth and replacement of molars
and on metric and morphological characteristics of
the skull (15 specimens) (Lavrov, 1981).
We also analyzed reports of the Kurgan Regional
Department of Commercial Hunting Management
(1967–1969, 1971–1972, 1976), which contained
information on the abundance and state of beaver
stock at the site of release, and data from the Kurgan
Regional Department of Wildlife Conservation and
Management (1985–2004) and the Russian Federal
Agency for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Inspection
(Rosselkhoznadzor), Kurgan Division (2005–2007)
on beaver abundance, distribution, and hunting.
Kurgan oblast lies in the southwest of the West
Siberian Plain, extending across three botanical–geo
graphic zones: the steppe, forest–steppe, and subtaiga
forests. Its climate is moderately continental. Almost
the whole territory is within the Tobol River basin,
The State of European Beaver (
Population in Kurgan Oblast
V. P. Starikov
and S. A. Anchugov
Surgut State University, pr. Lenina 1, Surgut, 628412 Russia;
Kurgan Division, Russian Federal Agency for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Inspection (Rosselkhoznadzor),
ul. Volodarskogo 65a, Kurgan, 640000 Russia;
Received July 14, 2008
—The results of studies on European beaver population dynamics in Kurgan oblast are presented.
Recommendations are given concerning rational management of beaver stock.
: European beaver, population dynamics, Kurgan oblast.