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Ecology of sable of North-Western Yakutian native population
Zakharov E.S., Safronov V.M.
P. 74-85
In 2003–2012, 687 carcasses of aboriginal sables of Zhigansk population represented by the Yenisey subspecies (Martes zibellina yeniseensis Ognev, 1925) inhabiting North-Western Yakutia were studied. Skull and body size of native sables were larger and fur colour was lighter as compared to the Vitim subspecies (M. z. princeps Birula, 1922) introduced in South-Western Yakutia (Olekma population). Dynamics of the native population is characterized by the prevalence of natural cycles at moderate hunting rates. The portion of juveniles made up 69.3% on average. Among adults 37.0% were 1-year-old animals, 25.1% 2-year-old, and 13.3% 3-year-old sables. Animals aged 4 to 12 years were less numerous (24.6%), especially females (8.5%). Fertility (3.46±0.2) and fecundity (2.77±0.3) rates as well as the number of reproducing females (61.4%), especially at the age of one year (2.9%), were less than in Olekma population. The diet of Zhigansk sables was based on northern red-backed voles (Myodes rutilus) (43.7% of studied stomachs), grey red-backed voles (Craseomys rufocanus) (43.7%) and root voles (Alexandromys oeconomus) (50.2%). Consumption of pikas (Ochotona sp.) was increased (up to 31.2%) in separate years. Birds were rarely consumed (1.6%). Plant food mainly consisted of bog bilberry (Vaccinium uliginosum) (15.5%). Poorly-nourished sables made up 71.9% of the sample. The number of moderately fat and very fat sables increased with age. Among them, males (30.2%) prevailed over females (25.7%). The relative mass of paranephric fat was lowest in sables aged 1 to 8 years. Sex-related differences in fat index were recorded only in juveniles.

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