Marmota sibirica 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Sciuridae

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

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A2ad ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-02-24
Assessor(s): Clayton, E.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G.
Contributor(s): Tsytsulina, K., Batsaikhan, N., Batbold, J & Sukhchuluun, G
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. Its generation length has been estimated as six years based on data from Nowak (1991). It therefore qualifies as Endangered based on observed declines of greater than 50% over the past three generations due to exploitation. Most of its global range is in Mongolia. In Russia the species is rare and declining, and it is listed as Endangered on the national Red List in Russia.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Marmota sibirica is distributed in piedmont and mountain steppes and alpine meadows (up to 3,800 m asl) in Tuva, and Transbaikalia (Russia), Mongolia, and China (Nei Mongol, Heilongjiang). In Mongolia M. s. sibirica is distributed in eastern steppe habitats in the Khentii Mountain Range, and M. s. caliginosus occurs in northern, western and central Mongolia, including Hangai, Hövsgöl and the Mongol Altai mountain ranges (Adiya 2000).
Countries occurrence:
China; Mongolia; Russian Federation
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):3800
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.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species inhabits 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 eastern Europe and central 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. Moulting of winter hair in adults occurs about 2.5-3 weeks after the birth of young. Light brown in colouration, 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 800-1,000 m.
Generation Length (years):6

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is hunted for meat and its skin. No detailed information is available on its use and trade.

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). There has been an increase in hunting since the price of pelts increased and factors such as the improvement of roads is providing better access for hunters to find marmot colonies (Kolesnikov et al. 2009).

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. The species occurs within protected areas across the range (approximately 6% of the species’ range in Mongolia). It is also listed as Rare species (EN) in Russia and is protected there 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: Clayton, E. 2016. Marmota sibirica. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T12832A22258643. . Downloaded on 19 September 2018.
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