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Study Shows Soviet Collapse Cut Mammal Populations

New research suggests the socioeconomic shocks that followed the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union have dramatically affected the region's populations of large mammals.

A study of eight large mammal species in Russia, published this month in journal Conservation Biology, found that they experienced a sharp decline in numbers at the beginning of the 1990s -- with one exception, the gray wolf.

The authors said likely reasons for the declines of species such as the boar, brown bear, and moose were poaching and the erosion of wildlife protection enforcement.

The data also indicated a change in fortune for some of the species' populations a decade later.

The wild boar population in Russia is now larger than it was in 1991, while roe deer and brown bear populations are also showing signs of recovery.

But other species remain in decline, including the Eurasian lynx.

Based on reporting by the BBC

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