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Marmota sibirica

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA RODENTIA SCIURIDAE

Scientific Name: Marmota sibirica
Species Authority: (Radde, 1862)
Common Name(s):
English Mongolian Marmot, Siberian Marmot, Tarbagan Marmot
Synonym(s):
Marmota sibirica Bannikov & Skalon, 1949 subspecies caliginosus
Marmota sibirica (Dybowski, 1922) subspecies dahurica

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A2ad ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Batbold, J., Batsaikhan, N., Tsytsulina, K. & Sukhchuluun, G.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Temple, H. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
Rationale for assessment: In Mongolia this species is experiencing an ongoing decline in population size, estimated at 70% over the past 10 years (Batbold, 2002), due to exploitation and disease. Generation length has been estimated as six years based on data from Nowak (1991). This species qualifies as Endangered under Criterion A2ad, based on observed declines of greater than 50% over the past three generations due to exploitation. Most of the species' global range is in Mongolia. In Russia the species is rare and declining, and assessed as Endangered on the national Red List.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Distributed in piedmont and mountain steppes and alpine meadows (up to 3800 m) in Tuva, and Transbaikalia (Russia), Mongolia, and China (Nei Mongol, Heilongjiang). In Mongolia M. s. sibirica is distributed in eastern steppe habitats and Hentii Mountain Range, M. s. caliginosus occurs in northern, western and central Mongolia, including Hangai, Hövsgöl and Mongol Altai mountain ranges (Adiya, 2000).
Countries:
Native:
China; Mongolia; Russian Federation
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Once common in Mongolia, hunting has fragmented its distribution and led to an estimated 70% decline in population size during the 1990s (Batbold, 2002). Numbers are believed to have since declined even further (K. Olson pers. comm.). In Russia the species is rare and declining.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Inhabit open steppe, semi-desert, forest-steppe, mountain slopes and valleys. Siberian marmots are a keystone species in the communities they inhabit, living in large colonies. The Tarbagan Marmot resembles the Bobak Marmot of E Europe and C Asia in mode of life and habits. Marmots of all ages forage on grasses, but also on 10-15 species of herbs and a few woody plants such as sagebrush. Autumn hibernation is initiated in September, but is influenced by summer food conditions and fall weather. Both Bobak and Tarbagan marmots hibernate in groups from 5-20 in a single burrow. Enemies include wolves, red foxes, and several species of large eagles and hawks. The Tarbagan Marmot may carry and transmit bubonic plague, and is therefore subject to stringent control measures in many parts of its range. Mating begins in April, after they have aroused from hibernation. Gestation lasts 40-42 days. Young appear above ground in June; typical litter size is 4-6, occasionally 8. Molting of winter hair in adults occurs about 2.5-3 weeks after the birth of young. Light brown in coloration, with dark guard hairs on the head and on the tail tip. Adults have a head-rump measurement of 50-60 cm and typically weigh 6-8 kg, reaching a maximum of 9.8 kg (Adiya, 2000). During hot summers can migrate looking for fresh vegetation, in mountains has vertical migrations for 800-1000 m.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Hunting records from 1942-1960 indicate that illegal trade reached a peak of 2.5 million individuals killed during 1947 (Stubbe, 1965). At least 104.2 million marmot skins were prepared in Mongolia between 1906 and 1994 (Batbold, 1996). Recent surveys estimate that actual trading numbers presently exceed hunting quotas by more than three times, and over 117,000 illegally traded marmot skins were confiscated in 2004 (Zahler et al., 2004). Outbreaks of plague also constitute a threat, and human plague cases are known to have occurred as a result of marmot hunting (Batbold, 2002). However, outbreaks are becoming less frequent as the population size declines.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: In Mongolia hunting is permitted between August 10th and October 15th depending on population size (MNE, 2005). Hunting was completely banned during 2005 and 2006 by the Ministry of Nature and Environment.
Occurs within protected areas across the range (approximately 6% of the species’ range in Mongolia).
Listed as Rare species (EN) in Russia and protected by law.

Conservation measures in place
•This species is conserved under Mongolian Protected Area Laws and Hunting Laws. However, no conservation measures specifically aimed at this species have been established to date.

Conservation measures required
•Enhance enforcement of existing protective legislature.
•Conduct further ecological research and monitor population trends, in order to develop a sustainable harvest management programme.
•Protect habitat through community based initiatives.
•Develop a public awareness programme to highlight the threat status and protective legislature in place for this species.
•Review and assess the effectiveness of reintroductions into areas of its former range.

Citation: Batbold, J., Batsaikhan, N., Tsytsulina, K. & Sukhchuluun, G. 2008. Marmota sibirica. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 23 October 2014.
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