On the trail of wolves in Belarus

Deep in the vast enchanting forest, visitors track endangered wolves with a zoologist passionate about their survival

Dawn in the Naliboki forest: mist over the marshes and bats skittering in birch trees. Above the clearing, stars are fading into a pale sky. We’re in deepest God-knows-where in one of Europe’s largest wild forests. Zoologist Vadim Sidorovich crouches in the half-light studying the track; I’m barely breathing, so intense is the silence. A brown bear, Vadim says. He traces a finger over the prints of its front paws, and – two ovals – its back paws. I can see the claw marks. A dozen bears roam this part of the forest.

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