A week in the forest – trails talk

Overview by Peep Männil and Marko Kübarsepp
Photos by Marko Kübarsepp
Translation: SilverT
Visiting card from H&H for their other brothers, on a willow shrub on the bank of Halliste
The weekend`s winter-weather was moderately cold. The wind wanted to drift, but the old snow-crust had very little fresh snow to throw around and it resulted in sporadic snow storms and later thaw. 
Notice-board on a forest road. Wall of snow is a good place to leave a message.
The spring is slowly approaching. The last month of the winter has started. In addition to Habe (Beard), Hall (Grey) and their third companion, a fourth wolf has joined their company to take long journeys together. The seemingly endless nocturnal  journeys, often accompanied by daily ones, refer to a curious restlesness in the wolf`s heart. Our wolves normally travel 7 to 10 kilometres per day, but now, in the second half of the winter even 20 to 25 kilometres. Naturally, the mating season, which is about to begin is the driving force. The heroes of this story, Habe and Hall, are no different from their other brothers in that respect and they travelled at least 110 kilometres during last week. At the moment, the wolves love to travel along forest roads, which have been cleared for people and along frozen rivers. The reason is simple – that way they are able to travel more.
Wolves have walked along a frozen ditch

Schematic year of the wolves` population. Peep Männil.
This shows how a year approximately looks like in terms of the wolf-population. The increase of wolves is spectacular and in our conditions only comparable to the wild boar and the raccoon dog, from larger animals. However, the wolves also experience high mortality. The main mortality factor from autumn till spring is lawful hunting. Natural mortality factors (diseases, inter-species competition) and other, man-caused mortality factors (traffic, poaching) affect the numerousness year-round. The mortality, which is not connected to hunting is definitely higher in the summer-time, during the first months of the newborn pups.




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