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Премия рунета 2017

About 12,500 Mongolian gazelles inhabit the Dauria Nature Reserve and the “Valley of Dzeren” Wildlife Refuge

19 october 2018
A large-scale survey of Mongolian gazelle (dzerens) on the territory of the Dauria Nature Reserve, the Valley of Dzeren, as well as in the adjacent areas showed a significant increase in the population of the rare antelope. The number of resident animals in this part of Zabaikalsky province is estimated at 12,500 individuals.

The survey was conducted by the efforts of the rangers of the Dauria Nature Reserve on 4–7 October. This activity is one of the largest among the annual autumn works in the nature reserve. Seven vehicles were involved. Each crew is assigned for a certain territory delineated by the navigator. The conditions of work at this time were difficult. Tall grass required a particularly detailed survey of the steppe. With low vegetation it is possible to take into account almost 100% of the animals, in present situation there could be possible omissions of some groups of antelopes.

Mongolian gazelles
Vadim Kirilyuk / Dauria Nature Reserve
Comments Vadim Kirilyuk, the director of the Dauria Nature Reserve:
Compared with the fall of 2017, the number of local dzerens increased by about three thousand animals. The increase is caused not only by the reproduction, but also due to the arrival of migrant dzerens. Last July-November dzerens have broken the protective wire structures at the border. After that about 5–7 thousand heads have come through this area from Mongolia. In October – November they enter Zabaikalsky province for wintering, and in March – April return back. We consider the number of 12,500 individuals is not final. Until spring, some of the dzerens, which came from Mongolia, may return home. Similar situation on this part of the border was observed in 2008. Moreover, the survival rate of babies born this summer is worse than usual. This was due to heavy rains in July. Newborn babies are resistant to almost any heat, but cannot stand excessive moisture and cold."

In 1992, for the first time after the extermination of dzerens in Zbaikalye, which ended by the 1970s, the first newborn dzeren was found in the Daursky Reserve. The growth of the population was very slow, despite the protected status of the area, and by the beginning of the millennium there were only 80 heads. Many thousands dzeren winter migrations from Mongolia to Zabaikalsky province have began in 2000-2001. Instinct-driven antelopes were looking for escape from the unfavorable weather conditions. However, people in Zabaikalsky province met them not with bread and salt, but treated them as a free game, arranging mass slaughter. In spring, the remains of dzeren herds returned to Mongolia, but some remained in Russia. Since that time, an epic restoration of the antelope in Russia has been launched under the leadership of the Dauria Nature Reserve. For two decades the Dzeren Restoration Program has been implementing in Russia with the support of governmental agencies and public organizations - the UNDP / GEF / Ministry of Natural Resources and WWF Russia.

In particular, with the support of WWF Russia, the federal reserve “Valley of Dzeren” was established in 2011 to ensure smooth migrations of the antelope between Russia and Mongolia, joint research and environmental measures are being conducted.

In July 2017, the Russian-Mongolian territory “Landscapes of Dauria” received the high status of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The work of the Daursky Reserve to restore the Mongolian gazelle population played an important role in making this decision.

“The data of the surveys of 2018 is very important information,” says Peter Osipov, director of WWF Russia Amur branch. - It shows that the measures taken by Russia to protect this rare species are absolutely correct: territories are protected, poaching is blocked. Cooperation between Russia and Mongolia has been established to preserve dzeren and other migratory species. The joint work on monitoring and security measures is being conducted. The Russian-Mongolian intergovernmental commission discusses issues of control over the epidemiological situation in places of animal migration, measures to reduce the negative impact of engineering structures, adaptation to climate change."
For additional information please contact
Director of WWF-Russia Amur branch