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Marmota bobak

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA RODENTIA SCIURIDAE

Scientific Name: Marmota bobak
Species Authority: Muller, 1776
Common Name(s):
English Bobak Marmot
Taxonomic Notes: Includes three subspecies: M. b. bobak Muller, 1776 (Ukraine, European part of Russia); M. b. kozlovi Fokanov, 1966 (Volga River region, right bank around Saratov City); M. b. schaganensis Bazhanov, 1930 (the rest of the range).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Tsytsulina, K., Zagorodnyuk, I., Formozov, N. & Sheftel, B.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Temple, H. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
The population experienced severe decline in the past, but these declines ended well over 10 years (3 generations) ago. The species is now stable and abundant within its present range in Europe. Consequently it is assessed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: At the beginning of the 20th century the species was distributed along whole steppe zone from W Ukraine through Russia and Kazakhstan to the Irtysh River. However, in the first half of the 20th century hunting and habitat loss (ploughing of steppes and conversion to arable land) significantly reduced the range of bobak marmot in the European steppes. By the 1940s the European range of the bobak marmot had become fragmented into isolated populations in unused land and protected areas. Currently the majority of the range is in the Urals and N Kazakhstan.
Countries:
Native:
Kazakhstan; Russian Federation; Ukraine
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Formerly the species was common and abundant along the whole steppe zone from W Ukraine to the Irtysh River. By the 1940s the European population and range had declined dramatically, and the species was restricted to isolated fragments of habitat in uncultivated areas and nature reserves. In the 1960s in both Russia and Ukraine hunting was prohibited, and marmot populations in these countries subsequently increased and are now considered stable. In N Kazakhstan, by contrast, the population has not recovered and remains at low density, but in central Kazakhstan the population is increasing. The species was reintroduced to a number of locations in the early 1980s, and the species has also naturally recolonised many areas.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It inhabits a variety of steppe habitats, including lowland, mixed grass, arid, and wormwood (Artemisia) steppes. Forms colonies consisting of several families. Burrows are complex, and may be up to 4-5 m in depth. There are summer and winter burrows, both with pronounced mounds. Does not stock up for winter; instead hibernates for at least six months a year. Enters hibernation at different times in differents parts of the range, leaves hibernation in late March-April. Feeds on green parts, bulbs, flowers and shoots of grasses. Sensitive to moisture in food and in overly dry conditions enters estivation. Reproduces once a year with litter size of 4 to 7 young.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Severe population and range reductions in the early to mid 20th century were caused by excessive hunting and habitat loss (cultivation of steppe grassland). Some illegal hunting continues.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: At present, there are no special conservation measures except hunting prohibition. In the early 1980s re-introductions were carried out in a number of locations. In the European part of the range the bobak marmot occurs in protected areas, where it survived during the period of severe population decline in the early to mid 20th century.

Citation: Tsytsulina, K., Zagorodnyuk, I., Formozov, N. & Sheftel, B. 2008. Marmota bobak. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 23 December 2014.
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