20 2015

Explorers' Club (2010)


Projects' goal: to obtain data on maternal behavior of Pallas' cat in wild

Time and place: Daursky State Nature Reserve, Zabaikalsky krai, Russia; May, June and July 2010

Pallas cat's kittens at the age of 0.5 month. My little friend. Photo by Aldar DambainMain executors and their participation: Aldar Dambain (four-year student of Zabaikalskiy State Humanitarian Pedagogical University ) - team leader, data collector, main researcher, Sergey Pahomov (second-year student of Zabaikalskiy State Humanitarian Pedagogical University) - research worker;

Field conditions: study site was situated in the most arid part of the reserve - on the Teli Cape. ), the home-range of the female observed wasn't more than 3 km2, it spreads to feather-grass (Stipa krylovii) steppes and abandoned arable lands with widespread rape and absinth (Artemisia frigida). The weather in June and July mostly was rainy with storms, but sometimes very hot (about +40C).

Accommodation, equipment and methods: Living in the field we used abandoned shed (remained of the shepherd' house) as a cover with tent inside it (for rain protecting). We made a fire outside using cow's and horse's dung as a fuel. For observation we took radio telemetry to identify the location of female of Pallas cat (the same female as for previous year of observation). Also we used GPS-navigator, spotting scope, binoculars, noctovisor, and bicycles to get the place where female moved to. We used the method of time intervals to detect day and night time, when female was mostly active.

Team leader, data collector, main researcher - Aldar Dambain, here I am. Photo by Sergey PahomovGeneral results and discussion: We haven't enough time to make any confident decision, because it's only the second time of our observation of Pallas cat' maternal behavior in wild, but we can speculate, that:

  1. Female brings kittens at the end of April or at first week of May; female stays with kittens in one and the same den, at the beginning of the June, when female moves kittens to the new shelter.
  2. During June female moves kittens from den to den several times (3-4), it can be connected with precaution, because there were a lot of possible food (pikas, Ochotona daurica, gerbilles, Meriones unguiculatus, field-voles, Microtus brandti), or any other reason, we couldn't predict.
  3. The most active hours of nursing female are nearly 8-13 a.m. and 17-22. In the afternoon time it was really hot, so all her preys wasn't active (they also prefer morning and evening time).
  4. At the beginning of July exhausted female was found with one kitten only. Previously there were observed 6 kittens, that means, that all other kittens already have been spread around (there wasn't any chance to find it out). At the second week of July female was found for.

Regards: we'd like to thank direction and staff of Daursky State Nature Reserve, our supervisor Vadim Kiriliuk for help in organization of the research and supply, Explorers Club for sponsoring help and Anna Barashkova for coordination and consulting.


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