Mongolian gazelle began season migration from Mongolia to Russia
Staff of Sokhondinsky Nature Reserve carried out the counts of Mongolian gazelle (dzeren) on 13-14 January 2016 in south-eastern part of Kyrinsky district of Zabaikalsky Province. Earlier in December 2015 the colleagues from Onon-Balj National Park in Mongolia informed about concentration of about 50,000 antelopes in the buffer zone of the national park. About 1,000 gazelles by that time already crossed to the left banks of the Onon and Balj Rivers.
“Herds of 50 – 120 dzerens are moving north to the grasslands both along watersheds and valley bottoms. During their passages they keep closely together, almost touching each other. There are some dispersed groups, probably those who migrated earlier. Most of the animals are actively feeding, but a few large males behave typically like in breeding season chasing other males away from the groups of females. Most likely it is the end of their breeding season because only few males are active. – comments Ivan Belov, mammologist, research officer of Sokhondinsky Nature Reserve.
“Over 20 years of hard work on conservation of this unique animal resulted in final came back of dzerens to Russian Dauria and settling in Zabaikalsky Province. The first group of this rare antelope inhabits Dauria Nature Reserve, the Valley of Dzeren Wildlife Refuge and adjacent areas. The second one settled down in Kyrinsky district, in the grasslands of the buffer zone of Sokhondinsky Nature Reserve. At present about 6,500 dzerens regularly live in Zabaikalsky Province. WWF Russia supports the work of nature reserves and regional administrative bodies on Mongolian gazelle recovery, population monitoring, establishing new protected areas for this rare species. In total, 366,000 hectares of protected areas were created with WWF support for dzeren conservation in Zabaikalsky Province, - comments Anna Barma, protected areas coordinator at WWF Russia Amur branch. – The protection and monitoring of the population should be carried out on both sides of national border, the establishment of Russian-Mongolian transboundary reserve “Source of the Amur” will improve the joint work in this direction.
During the count on one of the routs 8 km long along the border of Sokhondinsky Nature Reserve and Onon-Balj National Park no less than 200 dzerens were visually registered: 95 on the Russian side and about 110 on Mongolian. In the south-eastern part of Kyrinsky district on the count route of 25 kilometers no less than 1,950 dzerens were visually registered during one day.
According to Ivan Belov, the first groups of antelopes moved to Russian side on 4 January near Zun-Turgen village. At present near the national border on the territory of Mongolia in 3-5 kilometers to the south of Turgen village there is a concentration of 3,000 dzerens moving to the north.
Mongolian gazelle migration along the territory of transboundary nature reserve “Sources of the Amur” and adjacent areas is serious proof that conservation and research of the unique systems of this international protected area is of a high importance.