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The study focuses on capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) and other Galliformes birds reintroduction projects carried out in Europe since the 1950s. In Germany alone, there have been eleven projects involving the release of a total of ca. 5,000 caprcaillies, mainly obtained from the closed breeding centres. The majority of birds died shortly after release. The high mortality was caused by great pressure from predators and the poor adaptation of the birds bred in captivity to the wild−life conditions. The high mortality among the birds from artificial breeding is associated with changed morphology (e.g. shorter digestive tract, less−developed pectoral muscles), physiology, and behaviour (insufficiently developed social and anti−predatory behavioural mechanisms). Survival rates among the birds released into the wild were primarily affected by the method of breeding and release, quality of habitat, and pressure from predators. The survival rates of translocated birds were higher than those obtained from traditional breeding in aviaries. Better results were also obtained with the 'born to be free' method of breeding and release based on social contact between the mother and chicks. The following actions are obligatory in reintroduction projects: predators reduction, evaluation and improvement in the quality of environment, as well as long−term monitoring of birds. The factors crucial for the effectiveness are: the total number of birds released, the number of released birds in subsequent years, and the overall duration of the project.
The objective of this paper is to analyse the forest habitat selection by Capercaillie in Polish part of the Western Carpathians. The study was carried out in the Ujsoły Forest District located in the Beskid Żywiecki Mountains in years 2002−2004. Habitats were investigated with regard to the forest types, age classes of the main tree species, canopy closure and altitude. We established 28 linear transects of the total length of 221 km. Data regarding Capercaillie occurrence (n=141) i.e., bird observations, tracks, feathers and droppings were collected twice during spring, summer, autumn and winter. Average index of Capercaillie density based only on birds seen amounted to 0.055/km of the transect and was the highest during spring (0,090/km). Availability and usage by Capercaillie, as well as preference index were calculated for distinguished habitat groups. As shown by Bailey's test, mountain mixed coniferous forest and mountain coniferous forest sites were preferred by Caperacillie, while mountain deciduous forest was avoided. The birds preferred spruce and beech stands of age ranging from 80 to 120 years. Moreover, stands with open and broken canopy and habitats located 800−1200 m a.s.l. turned to be highly preferred by Capercaillie. The obtained results were analyzed in relation to potential food resources, predator pressure and human disturbance. The following forest management measures in mountain refuges of Capercaillie were suggested: (1) maintaining open or broken canopy closure of stands, (2) policyclic timber harvesting system with a long period of regeneration, (3) patchy distribution of understory vegetation with cover below 50% of area, (4) maintaining in the ground flora at least 30% cover of bilberry, and (5) leaving seed trees and old−growth forest patches in clear−cuts as well as promotion of natural regeneration. This activities together with control of predation and reduction of human pressure allows to protect Capercaillie population in the Beskid Żywiecki Mountains.
The nematode Ashworthius sidemi is a typical parasite of Asiatic deer, particularly sika deer (Cervus nippon). It was probably first carried into Poland by migrating red deer. The aim of the present study was to determine the prevalence and intensity of A. sidemi infection in roe deer and red deer in the Lower Silesian Wilderness in the winter season 2015/2016. Parasitological necropsy of 34 abomasa of red deer from Forest District Ruszów was performed. The prevalence of A. sidemi infection was found to be 91.1%, and the intensity to range from 10 to 2680 nematodes, with a mean intensity of 394 parasites. This prevalence of ashworthiosis and maximum intensity of infection were respectively 17.2% and 38% higher than observed in the previous season (2013/2014). The mean intensity was also slightly higher than reported previously.
The objective of the study was to determine the composition of the fauna of parasites and the state of infestation by parasites in red deer living in the Lower Silesian wilderness. In order to identify the stomach and intestinal nematodes, the abomasa of nine red deer harvested in the Ruszów Forest District were subjected to full helminthological dissection, coupled with sedimentation of the content. The obtained sediments were preserved in 1-2% formaldehyde solution. In the lab, the preserved sediments from the abomasa were separately diluted in water, thoroughly stirred, and a sample of one-tenth was collected from each. Each sample was then checked in small portions, and all nematodes were isolated. The nematodes collected were preserved in 75% ethyl alcohol with 5% addition of glycerol. In order to determine the infestation by pulmonary nematodes and by trematodes, 73 samples of red deer feces were examined using decantation and Baermann methods. The intensity of invasion was measured as the number of larvae found in 3 g of feces. Additionally, 10 × 10 cm samples of skin and subcutaneous connective tissue were taken from the back regions of 14 red deer, and parasites were isolated from them. A total of ten species of parasites typical of red deer were found: five species of stomach and intestinal nematodes – Spiculopteragia boehmi, Ostertagia leptospicularis, Ostertagia kolchida, Spiculopteragia mathevossiani and Aonchotheca (Capillaria) bovis; three species of pulmonary nematodes – Elaphostrongylus cervi, Varestrongylus sagittatus and Dictyocaulus eckerti; one species of nematode living in tissues – Onchocerca flexuosa, as well as a gadfly Hypoderma diana. Moreover, two alien, invasive species were found: Ashworthius sidemi – a nematode originating from south-eastern Asia and Fascioloides magna – an American trematode. Both of them pose a threat to wild and domestic ungulates. Further research is necessary to determine the extent of infestation concentrations caused by the aforementioned parasites.
The aim of the study was to demonstrate how the trophy quality of antlers of the red deer stags living in two large forest complexes in the Mazowsze region (central Poland) differs from those inhabiting other regions of the country. The study used the data describing the body and antlers weight of 272 stags shot in 2005−2014 in two large, separated from each other, forest complexes of Spała and Gostynin. The stags from both forest complexes do not differ from each other in body weight and antler forms. The average body weight of the stags at the age of 12 is approximately 120−140 kg. The characteristics of antler forms of the stags harvested by hunters may not reflect the actual state because of the use, in practice, of the selection criteria instead of random killing. The most frequently harvested antler forms of the selection stags in the age classes of 3−5 years and 6−8 years are regular eight−pointers and irregular twelve−pointers, respectively. However, the small sample size used and the specific rules of harvesting the older stags do not allow to characterize the antler forms of the stags older than 9 years. In the autumn−winter period, a decrease in the body weight of the rutting stags at the age of over 6 years, as well as of the young, 2−5−year−old, stags is observed. The loss in body weight in young stags is approximately 20%, while in older stags – 35%. The decrease in body weight in the autumn−winter period is not stable. The largest, representing nearly 50% of the total weight loss, was recorded after the rut. In the period between November and December even a slight increase in body weight was noted followed again by a decline by the end of the winter.
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