“Wild people”: an echo of a long-standing shot
More than five years have passed since the leader of a fairly large pack of feral dogs that robbed the land and undermined the well-being of the surrounding villagers was eliminated with an arrow from a crossbow. But the company that arrived here on the Hunter was almost the same as before. The former huntsman-a participant in long-standing events, now on a voluntary basis occasionally helping the young successor, handed him the binoculars with the words: – Well, look-they? – They, dear…in optics admired all sitting in the car. Yes, indeed, they are. But not quite. If last time the pack consisted of a cocktail of lycoids and large mongrels, as well as a hound and a funny half-Caucasian with some sheep’s hair, now clearly viewed nepotism. Newcomers to it, it seems, were not accepted, observing a kind of “breed standard”, which was set by the new leader-an almost black dog of quite wolfish articles. Some bitches were more or less out of the General range, but the young were clearly from the same brood, though a little different suit.
There was another difference: the old pack, apparently, had not yet completely detached itself from civilization and had allowed the all-terrain vehicle to reach a confident shot distance of about forty meters. Now the dogs preferred to stay at a distance, judging by the power poles-three hundred meters away. And then, having estimated the car which has frozen on a place, have rummaged to the wood.After a detailed evening story about the atrocities of the contingent to be eliminated and a series of unsuccessful attempts, it was decided to take the animals for a break. But that’s a different story. Much more interesting is the background, namely the fatal combination of circumstances that led to this situation. At least, this hypothesis was put forward by the collective mind of those present.That winter, five years ago, an orphaned pack without a leader somehow lost its hunting and tactical qualities, moving exclusively to the lifestyle of scavengers-gatherers and raiders of poultry and livestock. Fortunately, the main habitat was the area of abandoned and semi-abandoned farms with traditional landfills, silage pits, etc., To fairly large village is also close at hand. And it was then in the land a salary managed to take the wolf with pariyaram. What happened in the end? I repeat: this is only a hypothesis.Apparently, left without a pair at the very beginning of the mating period, the experienced wolf found a way out of the situation. And not too far from the lair. It is difficult to say what happened to the male competitors-whether they managed to leave or died. As well as to answer the question where the wolf then found a real friend of life (in the economy, the gray successfully restored their population, dividing the land with hybrid offspring in some way). But, somehow, what happened happened. Here is and think, good will bring your long-standing shot or evil, let small, local…
These are the questions that make you think. And I want to test the hypothesis, and just understand who and what we are dealing with. As a result of the search, we managed to find an article by L. S. Ryabov, which, although written many years ago, is quite relevant. We offer it to your attention (in abbreviations).The author’s observations of predators in the Voronezh region, partly by I. G. Gursky (1975) in the Odessa region and A. Danilkin (1979) in the South of the Urals were used in writing the work.
The appearance of stray and feral dogs in nature is entirely caused by human activity. Abandoned, lost, but left without his care, the animals are faced with a dilemma – to die or to survive. At the same time, dogs lose their attachment to a person, turning from domestic animals into animals of the local fauna. The following process occurs with them. Homeless mongrels became such in most cases. Often among them were cross-breed specimens with a hound and a German shepherd, sometimes a setter. Russian Russian piebald and Russian hounds were found in some flocks.Two ecological groups of feral dogs were observed in the Voronezh region. One of them represented hunters of wild ungulates (mainly deer that bred without wolves) and was located in forests that abound with them. Dogs in this case occupied an empty ecological niche of the wolf in the biocenoses. Among the dogs were those who went hunting in the woods temporarily from adjacent villages, flocks usually gathered in villages. The second (more numerous group of dogs) existed near dumps with food waste, poultry and animal burial grounds and was usually kept in fields, along gullies and ravines near settlements. If there was a forest nearby, predators hid in it and even hunted wild ungulates. They can’t seem to live entirely on hunting. But not all pockets of dogs could be clearly divided into the specified groups, Among them there were transitional ones from dumps to hunting. The number of predators in flocks was calculated: in the forest from 2 to 10 (on average 5), in landfills and animal burial grounds -12 (on average 7).
It is noteworthy that dogs that hunted in the forest for deer, cattle and poultry rarely touched, as well as wolves (Ryabov, 1974). Those that were associated with the corpses of domestic animals often attacked sheep, goats, poultry, while dogs sometimes showed great audacity and harm to agriculture, brought no less, but more than wolves (Ryabov, 1979, Solomatin, 1979). Like wolves, they attacked flocks of sheep in the camps and meadows, wounding many of them by tearing their Asses. And although dogs didn’t bite sheep to death compared to wolves, the latter often choked each other in their pens in a panic. From what loss to collective farms only after two raids of packs of dogs on flocks could make over 20 thousand rubles (Ryabov, 1979). Kept dogs usually near sheep farms. During the day they could be seen running away from the flocks and resting in the bushes and weeds, and at night predators broke into the cat and tore the sheep. Curiously, at the time of one of these attacks in the Podgorensky district of the Voronezh region, a large watchdog guarding sheep broke its chain and, instead of rushing at the dogs, took part in a robbery with them.In the past, when the number of wolves was low, “friendship” between single wolves and dogs was established in landfills and animal burial grounds, and foci of wolf-dog hybrids appeared in nature (Ryabov, 1973; 1978). Only occasionally in the Voronezh region and more often in Odessa, single male wolves (Ryabov, 1973, tursky, 1975) joined the “Union” with dogs, later living in mixed flocks, which included a dog, a wolf, and hybrids. In most cases, wolf-dogs appeared in nature from a she-wolf, and flocks later consisted of a she-wolf (sometimes later joined by other wolves) and hybrids or only from hybrids.
In recent years, breeding wolves have generally displaced dogs from land near landfills and animal burial grounds into forests, restoring their right to live and “command” in these places, since the distribution of predators is subject to the law of ecological substitution. With a more or less normal structure of wolf packs, the latter are aggressive towards dogs. And act as irresistible competitors for them in nature. At the same time, the process of displacement does not always proceed quickly. Preserved in 1963-1972, some packs of hybrids and wolves in the Yablochinsky forest of the Voronezh region did not displace stray and feral dogs in the surrounding areas for a long time (there were even broods of dogs in the forest), and continued to feed with them on the same animal burial grounds.In the early 70s, 18 wild shepherd dogs similar to German shepherds lived in the forests near the village of Tyuzhovka in the Voronezh region. Predators attacked here on collective farm sheep, ran into the fields of hunting dogs, and chased hares. Wolves that occasionally passed through their possessions did not disturb the dogs, but in 1976 they settled here themselves, and the dogs immediately left the forest and again “clung” to the village.But in some cases, mainly during the breeding season, individual wolves can maintain “friendly” contacts with dogs and with a more or less normal structure of their populations. Interesting behavior in this regard, females. The she-wolf sought a meeting with a male, similar to a German shepherd, who guarded the sheep. They were seen together in the field in the evening and in the afternoon. In the winter of 1974/75 G. in the Ostrogozhsky district, two wolves adopted a female German shepherd, who walked with them for a long time and visited animal burial grounds together. But later, wolves killed and ate stray dogs here. We believe that” friendly ” contacts with dogs are now more likely to be high-blooded wolf hybrids that have almost the appearance of wolves.