Effect of winter conditions on wild ungulates mortality in the Owl Mountains (Poland)


  • Marcin Warchałowski University of Zielona Góra, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Departament of Zoology, Prof. Z. Szafrana 1, 65-516 Zielona Góra, Poland
    e-mail: marcin.warchalowski@dziewiecsil.org
  • Piotr Nowakowski Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences, The Faculty of Biology and Animal Science, Institute of Animal Breeding, Chełmońskiego 38C, 51-630 Wrocław, Poland
  • Andrzej Dancewicz Institute of Meteorology and Water Management, Parkowa 30, 51-616 Wrocław, Poland


Relations between climatic factors during the winter season (n days with frost <0oC and –10oC; n days with snow cover: >1 cm, >10 cm and >30 cm; maximum snow cover during season [cm]) and mortality in free-living ungulates (red deer Cervus elaphus Linnaeus, 1758, roe deer Capreolus capreolus Linnaeus, 1758 and mouflon Ovis aries musimon Linnaeus, 1758) in the Owl Mountains (Lower Silesia – Poland) in years 1998–2010 were investigated.
Significant effects of all analysed climatic factors on ungulates mortality were documented. Correlations (Pearson) between such weather factors as the depth of snow cover and number of days with frost and recorded mortality in total animal populations analysed ranged from r = 0.33 to r = 0.77. The least adapted to local weather conditions was mouflon introduced to this area ca. 100 years ago from more southern parts of Europe. Roe deer species seems to be environmentally plastic, and are doing quite well in severe winters. Tolerance of red deer to the snow cover is much lower at low temperatures due to the fact that this species, during the period of snow cover, has limited access to the plants covered with snow and difficult access to food base.

DOI 10.1515/ffp-2015-0018
Source Folia Forestalia Polonica, Series A – Forestry
Print ISSN 0071-6677
Online ISSN
Type of article
original article
Original title
Effect of winter conditions on wild ungulates mortality in the Owl Mountains (Poland)
Publisher The Committee on Forestry Sciences and Wood Technology of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Forest Research Institute in Sekocin Stary
Date 15/09/2015


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