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First Ever Crimean Wolf And Bird Survey

The team ringed 1,000 birds in their six-week study…

Crimean Wolf And Bird SurveyIn September 2001 a research team from Biosphere Expeditions returned from the Black Sea where they had conducted the first ever wolf and bird surveys on the Kinburn peninsula. The peninsula is part of the Crimean and larger Black Sea ecosystem and serves as a major staging point for migratory birds and a refuge for steppe wolves. The peninsula is used by many bird species as a stepping-stone for crossing the Black Sea on their migration routes because the area is relatively undisturbed and sufficiently remote. Indeed, the concentration of migratory birds in autumn is so high that the area in vernacular Ukrainian is known as a bird railway station. Despite this, funds and manpower have so far been lacking to conduct any conservation research. The Biosphere Expeditions research team has changed all that.The team tracked wolves and ringed 1,000 birds in their six-week study designed to get a handle on how many wolves actually live on the peninsula and what kind of birds migrate through on their way to Africa and the Mediterranean. Zinovy Petrovych, the director of the Kinburska Kosa Regional Landscape Park, said that it has always been our dream to conduct this kind of large-scale study. But so far we have had neither the money, nor the people to do it. Biosphere Expeditions has enabled us to realise many of our ambitions and the data gathered, along with the reputation an international team of scientists and volunteers brings with it, will be vital in our efforts of upgrading the area from Regional Landscape Park to National Park status.The team worked on the beach and in the areas behind which include natural sand dune areas covered with steppe vegetation, planted pine forests and lagoons. The weather during the expedition was very warm so in between netting over 30 birds a day the teams could swim and relax in the shade. Team members were taught how to set up mist nets and how to extract the birds without harming them. They learnt how to identify, measure and ring birds. Whilst carrying out the wolf survey, team members learnt how to read tracks and recognise behaviour patterns from their observations.Biosphere Expeditions is an organisation that runs wildlife conservation research expeditions to all corners of the Earth, placing ordinary people with no research experience alongside scientists who are at the forefront of conservation work. They send an expedition leader with every project and Dr. Matthias Hammer, the leader of this expedition and founder of Biosphere Expeditions has been impressed by the overwhelming enthusiasm of the scientists and the team, something that has been the hallmark of this expedition. He hopes that our data will play an important role in protecting this important area for wolves and birds for generations to come.Wietse Siebenga, an expedition team member from the Netherlands, said: I remember the Kingfisher in my hand… Beautiful. The excitement about a couple of wolf prints, a viper, and the flowers. It was a great experience. Other members of the expedition team, in the country for 3 x 2 week blocks, recruited from all kinds of backgrounds, of all ages and encompassing six nations (UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Surinam, Russia, Ukraine), agree, and are thrilled that their expedition contribution and that the work they put in made this all possible.

Full details and photos http://www.biosphere-expeditions.org/media/E28Sep2001.html

4th July 2014