Arctic: ecology and economy
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Home Archive of journals Volume 13, No. 4, 2023 Experience of introduction of musk oxen to Zavyalov Island in Tauiskaya Bay of the northern part of the Sea of Okhotsk


JOURNAL: Volume 13, No. 4, 2023, p. 624-633

HEADING: Regional problems

AUTHORS: Gorshunov, M.B.

ORGANIZATIONS: Institute of Biological Problems of the North FEB RAS

DOI: 10.25283/2223-4594-2023-4-624-633

UDC: 591.152.526

The article was received on: 24.07.2023

Keywords: musk ox, introduction, population formation, Ovibos moschatus, Arctic development strategy, biodiversity conservation

Bibliographic description: Gorshunov, M.B. Experience of introduction of musk oxen to Zavyalov Island in Tauiskaya Bay of the northern part of the Sea of Okhotsk. Arktika: ekologiya i ekonomika. [Arctic: Ecology and Economy], 2023, vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 624-633. DOI: 10.25283/2223-4594-2023-4-624-633. (In Russian).


The paper describes the process of the beginning of the formation of a population of musk oxen (ovibos moschatus) on Zavyalov Island, peculiarities of adaptation to one of the southernmost habitats with a high density of brown bear population. The purpose of the musk oxen introduction is connected with the implementation of the Arctic Development Strategy and the search for new opportunities of the national economy. Provided that the minimum impact of predators on the population of Zavyalov Island is ensured, it is necessary to prevent a catastrophic increase in the number, which inevitably leads to a shortage of feed. Thus it will be necessary to relocate excess animals. The introduction of musk oxen corresponds to the tourism development plan, and will also serve as an additional, environmentally safe factor in the economy and food independence of remote territories. At the beginning of autumn 2018, 25 musk oxen were brought to Zavyalov Island; all of them were one year old. On the island, musk oxen were initially kept in paddok. On September 10, 2020, another 25 musk oxen were brought. During the first two years, the sex-age structure depended only on their death. Four (4) individuals survived: two (2) males and two (2) females, the strong predation of the brown bear affected. One of them gave offspring in the third year: one calf appeared. In the fourth year, both females from the first delivery gave birth to a calf. Now the island is optimizing the sex-age structure of the musk ox population. But the main patterns of the formation of the population of musk oxen for other islands won’t work on Zavyalov Island due to relatively high number of brown bears, which does not allow the population to develop in the same way as in other habitats, with a much lower density of this predator. The introduction of musk oxen to Zavyalov Island, with good protection from predators, shows a positive result for the settlement of these animals in other similar territories.

Finance info: cknowledgements. I express my gratitude to the staff and Director of Expedition Tour LLC I.B.Dontsov for all-round assistance, organizational, technical and material support.


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