In 2001, the Department for the Protection and Development of Hunting Resources
at the Russian Ministry of Agriculture answered a request from the Biodiversity
Conservation Centre for help in carrying out a survey of the Russian desman
in the administrative areas of the Russian Federation inhabited by the animal
in the past. To this end a questionnaire
was drawn up and used to collect the primary evidence. The questionnaires
were sent out to 25 Russian provinces and republics. The survey covered around
30,000 km of the banks of rivers, lakes and artificial reservoirs. This is
the largest desman survey in the last 30 years. It employed a uniform methodology.
The survey involved counting the number of inhabited desman dens in a 1-km
stretch of bank of the water body being surveyed. Analysis of the primary
evidence showed that muskrats were found in almost every area where the desman
lives. Therefore, a corrected ratio was used: 0.6 animals to 1 den, both up
to and along the ice (c.f. Kudryashov, 1976).
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