Meles leucurus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Mustelidae

Scientific Name: Meles leucurus (Hodgson, 1847)
Common Name(s):
English Asian Badger
Meles meles ssp. leucurus (Hodgson, 1847)
Taxonomic Notes: Previously the genus Meles was considered to be monospecific. Recent morphological and genetic studies supported the separation of Meles into three species (Abramov 2002, 2003; Abramov and Puzachenko 2005, 2006). Certain craniological and molecular data suggest that badgers from South-west Asia (here treated as subspecies of M. meles) should be recognised as fourth full species, M. canescens (Del Cerro et al. 2010, Tashima et al. 2011, Abramov and Puzachenko 2013).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-03-03
Assessor(s): Abramov, A.V.
Reviewer(s): Schipper, J. & Duckworth, J.W.
Contributor(s): Wozencraft, C
Asian Badger is listed as Least Concern because of its wide distribution, large population, occurrence in many protected areas, tolerance to habitat modification, and because it is unlikely to be declining at nearly the rate required to qualify for listing even as Near Threatened.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Asian Badger is found in Russia (from the Volga River east through parts of Siberia to the Russian Far East) and across central Asia east of the Caspian Sea to Mongolia, China and Korea (Abramov and Puzachenko 2005). It is widespread in the Urals and to the east. The boundary between the distribution of Eurasian Badger M. meles and Asian Badger is the River Volga (up to the Middle Volga). The only Asian Badger locality west of the Volga is the Zhiguli Nature Reserve (Abramov and Vekhnik 2003). Between the upper River Volga and the River Kama these two badger species seem to be sympatric (Abramov et al. 2003). To the east of the Caspian Sea, the ranges of the 'Southwest Asian badger' M. meles canescens and M. leucurus are separated by arid desert regions (Kara Kum and Kyzyl Kum deserts). The contact zone between the two badger species in Central Asia is located in the western Tien-Shan Mountains (Abramov and Puzachenko 2007). Meles m. canescens occurs in the foothills of western Tien-Shan (Karzhantau, Ugam, Chatkal, Kuraminsky and Turkestan ridges), and probably it can be found north-western Xinjiang, China. In the sympatric zone, in south-eastern Uzbekistan, the two forms differ substantially in habitat use: M. m. canescens occupies mountains whereas M. leucurus inhabits plains and semi-deserts (A.V. Abramov pers. comm. 2014).

Corbet and Hill (1992) mapped occurrence into northern Lao PDR, but there is no evidence for its occurrence there (Duckworth 1997), so this is assumed to have been in error. 

The species is found from sea level to 2,500 m in the Tian Shen Mountains, and to 3,205 m around Lake Qinghai (Li and Jiang 2014); it potentially occurs higher in Tibetian Plateau, to over 4,000 m, but this remains to be confirmed.
Countries occurrence:
China; Kazakhstan; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Kyrgyzstan; Mongolia; Russian Federation; Uzbekistan
Additional data:
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):No
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):3205
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Asian Badger is widespread and common.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Asian Badger uses a range of habitats, in particular deciduous woods with clearings, and open pastureland with small patches of woodland. It is also found in mixed and coniferous woodland, scrub, suburban areas, steppes and semi-deserts.

This species is an opportunistic forager with an omnivorous diet, including fruit, nuts, bulbs, tubers, acorns, and cereal crops. It also consumes a variety of invertebrates (especially earthworms), wasp and bee nests, birds' eggs, carrion, and live vertebrate prey such as mice, voles, hedgehogs and moles. In the northern parts of its range the species hibernates during the winter months.
Generation Length (years):6.5
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: In some parts of its range it is hunted for food and fur.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Asian Badger is hunted legally in China, Russia and Mongolia, as well as illegally within protected areas in China. There is an established hunting season in Russia, usually from August to November; the hunting is limited and licensed (A, V, Abramov pers. comm. 2006).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Asian Badger is found in many protected areas throughout its range and remains generally widespread and common. In at least one protected area in DPR Korea, Mt Myohyang, the species survived in some numbers in the face of intense snaring suficient to reduce many other ground-dwelling mammal to very low densities (including all deer in the site) (J. W. Duckworth pers. comm. 2006). It is therefore assumed to be quite resilient.

Asian Badger is listed as Critically Endangered under criteria A2cd on the Chinese Red List (China Species Information Service 2007). However, this is not indicative of the status of the species as recognised by the Red List: the China Red List regards M. leucurus as occurring only in Tibet, while Meles populations elsewhere in the country are treated as M. meles, which is categorised nationally as Near Threatened.

Citation: Abramov, A.V. 2016. Meles leucurus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T136385A45221149. . Downloaded on 18 August 2018.
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