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Abstract

Introduction of mammals in Yakutia: analysis of effectiveness, prospects, and negative impacts.

Abstract

The paper evaluates the experience of intentional introduction of mammals into Yakutia. The total of eight alien and one native mammal species were introduced during the period between 1930 and 2020. Two alien species (the muskrat and American mink) naturalized successfully, as well as the reintroduced sable. Introduction of the muskox launched in 1996 has proved successful, and with the proper conservation measures, one can expect a further increase in its abundance and expansion of its range to cover the entire tundra zone of Yakutia. Attempts to introduce the Eurasian beaver, raccoon dog, steppe polecat, and domestic yak have failed. Efforts on the introduction of the wood bison continue, but its reproduction rate and specifics of its winter behavior and feeding habits suggest difficulties in the adaptation to new climate conditions. Intentional introduction of alien species poses a potential threat to ecosystems of the North, particularly from attempting to reconstruct paleofauna by introducing the species characteristic of paleolandscapes rather than recent fauna of the region. In the absence of the comprehensive biological analysis, efforts directed at "increasing the biodiversity" can lead to disturbance of the balance of the northern ecosystems.