Natalia N. Spasskaya, PhD, Secretary for Research Zoological Museum of Lomonosov Moscow State University (Bolshaya Nikitskaya Street, 2, Moscow, 125009, Russia); e-mail:

Reference to article

Spasskaya N.N. 2019. Long-term complex monitoring of horse populations: its advantages and problems. Nature Conservation Research 4(Suppl.2): 111–113.

Section Research Notes

Complex monitoring of a feral horse population (Rostovsky State Nature Biosphere Reserve, Russia) started in 2006. Its main goal was to assess the state of the group and to forecast its future prospects. The monitoring was based on the so called biographical method. The long-term and comprehensive studies allowed uncovering some phenomena that were not evident through short-term observations, namely a persistent high mortality rate of the young stock; constant presence of groups of mares that did not breed (or had low reproductive status); delayed reaction of the population to a disturbance of its social structure, and others. It is stressed that such long-term complex monitoring should be implemented in any reintroduction projects.


biographical method, feral horses, long-term investigation, monitoring, Rostov Region, Russia

Artice information

Received: 15.02.2019. Revised: 19.04.2019. Accepted: 01.05.2019.

The full text of the article

Clutton-Brock T., Sheldon B.C. 2010. Individuals and populations: the role of long-term, individual-based studies of animal in ecology and evolutionary biology. Trends in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 25(10): 562–573. DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2010.08.002
Goltsman M.E., Sushko E.D., Doronina L.O., Kruchenkova E.P. 2018. An individual-based model of the population dynamics of the Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus semenovi) on Mednyi Island, Commander Islands, North Pacific. Zoologicheskii Zhurnal 97(11): 1400–1417. DOI: 10.1134/S0044513418110041 [In Russian]
Program on creating the semi-captive population of Przhewalski's horses in the Orenburg State Nature Reserve 2015–2018. Orenburg. 51 p.
Ransom J.I., Lagos L., Hrabar H., Nowzari H., Usukhjargal D., Spasskaya N. 2016. Wild and feral Equid population dynamics. In: J.I. Ransom, P. Kaczensky (Eds.): Wild Equids: Ecology, Management and Conservation. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. P. 68–83.
Rozhnov V.V., Spasskaya N.N., Chibilev A.A., Levukin S.V., Orlov V.N., Paklina N.V., Pozdnyakova M.K., Petrischev B.I. 2010. The Program on reintroduction of the Przewalskii horse in the Orenburgskaya Oblast (Sothern Ural Region Region, Russian Federation). Moscow: Russian Academy of Sciences, Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology. 32 p.
Spasskaya N.N. 2008. Feral horses are not strangers in the steppe. Steppe Bulletin 25: 52–56. [In Russian]
Spasskaya N.N. 2009. Spatial structure of feral horse populations: analysis of factors affecting home range size. Zoologicheskii Zhurnal 88(5): 629–636. [In Russian]
Spasskaya N. 2014. Inherited dental anomalies in the horse (Equidae, Equus caballus). Russian Journal of Theriology 13(1): 17–26. DOI: 10.15298/rusjtheriol.13.1.03 [In Russian]
Spasskaya N.N., Scherbakova N.V. 2006. Population of the feral horses on Vodnyi Island in Rostovsky State Nature Reserve (result of investigations 2006). Problems of Steppe Science 6: 64–69. [In Russian]
Spasskaya N.N., Ermilina Ju.A., Mahotkina K.A., Svinarenko A.E. 2010a. Phenotypic characteristic isolate population of the feral horse on Vodnyi Island (Rostov Region). Bulletin of Moscow Society of Naturalists. Biological Series 110(6): 15–23. [In Russian]
Spasskaya N.N., Scherbakova N.V., Ermilina Ju.A., Mahotkina K.A., Pchelkina D.S., Svinarenko A.E. 2010b. Results of complex monitoring of population of the feral horses of the Vodnyi island in the Rostovskiy State Nature Biosphere Reserve. Proceedings of the Rostovskiy State Nature Biosphere Reserve 4: 197–211. [In Russian]