Population dynamics and the current status of fur animals were studied in the Transcarpathian administrative region. A brief systematic review and analysis of quantitative parameters are presented for the last 10 years. Attention has been paid to possible reasons of low population of protected species of fur animals.
Materials and Methods
Analysis of the number and use of populations of fur was carried out according to the cumulative information of the Transcarpathian Forest and Game Management Administration 2TP “Game management” (2006–2016.). The study of the species biology explored during 1997–2016 by observations over ecological preferences of fur animals (participation in the winter and summer survey in Uzhgorod, Mukachevo, Beregovo, V. Bereznyanska districts) and by analysis of the hunting management plans of the Transcarpathian region. We also participated in endangered species surveys, which carried out during the 1999–2008, with cooperation with state administration of ecology and environmental protection in the Transcarpathian region. Information is given not in a systematic manner but according to the form 2TP “Game management”.
Taxonomically, fur in Transcarpathian region cover three order, eight families, fourteen genus, and twenty-one species. Such species as hare (Lepus europaeus Pallas, 1778), squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris Linnaeus, 1758), European beaver (Castor fiber Linnaeus, 1758), muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus Linnaeus, 1766), raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides Gray, 1834), jackal (Canis aureus Linnaeus, 1758), grey wolf (Canis lupus Linnaeus, 1758), red fox (Vulpes vulpes Linnaeus, 1758), stone marten (Martes foina Erxleben, 1777), pine marten (Martes martes Linnaeus, 1758), American mink (Mustela vision Schreber, 1777), dark ferret (Mustela putorius Linnaeus, 1758), European badger (Meles meles Linnaeus, 1758), a total of 13 species, can be objects of sport hunting. No species has an economic value, but in the 80s of the twentieth century, fur merchants bought the fur of both martens, red fox, squirrel, muskrat and hare in small sizes. With the change in price policy regarding fur harvesting, fur procurement of these species, as well as of other species, stopped. The emergence of two new types of fur, the jackal and the European beaver, the resource potential of which requires detailed study, is receiving attention. These two species appeared in the fauna naturally, without human intervention.
Even taking into account the relative reliability of accounting information, the accounting range is 40,000–60,000 fur animals. We consider hunting information a more objective assessment. The exceptions are the 2011 data, the accuracy of which is questionable. In general, hunters in Transcarpathian region taking from 10.9 to 36.2 % of the accounted fur, with an average value of 14.6 %.
For more accurate characteristics of the state of populations of specific species, we have analyzed information about their hunting over the last ten years. On the territory of Transcarpathian region only six species of fur were used: hare, red fox, marten (without specifying the species), squirrel, and grey wolf (Fig. 2). They can be considered the main species for hunting.
Out of twenty-one species of fur-bearing, for which statistical reports 2TP “Game management” are available, only two are exploited by hunters actively. Account information of users of hunting grounds can be used for the development of normative documents management of hunting economy based on research of biology and ecology of hunting fur. It is suggested to include European beaver into the list of fur species of the Transcarpathian region and to correct Carpathian forest and hunting zone by including Transcarpathian lowland subzone.
2 Figs., 29 Refs.