News Science, 05/12/2016

The Population of Beavers Increased in Kharkiv Region

The 5th annual counting of beavers took place in “Slobozhanskyi” national natural park in Krasnokutsk district of Kharkiv region. The ecologists found 34 beavers lodges, which is 1.5 times more than last year.

It took 20 ecologists and volunteers from all over Ukraine 6 days to determine the total number of beavers and their age. They used special method, when the total number of beavers in the region is calculated through counting of trees and shrubs eaten by beavers, and their age is calculated based on width of teeth tracks left on wood. The beavers are counted only in the end of autumn, when their gnawing is more intense. The size of teeth of the oldest beaver found in Kharkiv region is 8-9 mm, the youngest has 4,5-5 mm teeth.

Beavers live in lodges, little dome-shaped houses made of wooden sticks, grass and moss plastered with mud. 70 lodges were found in the Slobozhanskyi national park. According to scientists, beavers have tremendous impact on ecosystems as they create proper conditions for the life of other species. In dry years (2013-2014), there was no water in Slobozhanskyi park, the marshes had dried up and the beavers had dug 1.5 meter deep channels, and all life was preserved in these channels.

People and cattle use water stored by the beavers. When beavers build dams on streams and rivers, they create large water sources that also accumulate and filter rainwater. So dams built by the beavers help to keep water clean”, – said Nataliia Brusenkova, the Head of scientific department of “Slobozhansky” National Park .

Only few years ago beavers have returned to Kharkiv region after almost total disappearance. This is a significant event for ecosystem of Kharkiv region. And their importance is the reason why ecologists count and monitor population of the beavers every year.

Source and picture: Kharkiv regional state TV