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Meles leucurus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA CARNIVORA MUSTELIDAE

Scientific Name: Meles leucurus
Species Authority: (Hodgson, 1847)
Common Name(s):
English Asian Badger
Taxonomic Notes: Previously the genus Meles was considered as monotypic. The recent morphological and genetic studies supported the separation of Meles into three species (Abramov 2002, 2003; Abramov and Puzachenko 2005, 2006; see also Wozencraft, 2005).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Abramov, A. & Wozencraft, C.
Reviewer(s): Duckworth, J.W. (Small Carnivore Red List Authority) & Schipper, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
This species is listed as Least Concern due to its wide distribution, large population, occurrence in a number of protected areas, tolerance to habitat modification, and because it is unlikely to be declining at nearly the rate required to qualify for listing in a threatened category.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The Asian badger is found in Russia (from the Volga River through Siberia) through Middle Asia, Mongolia, China, to DPR Korea and Republic of Korea (Wozencraft 2005). The boundary between distribution ranges of European M. meles and Asian badger M. leucurus is the Volga River (up to the Middle Volga). M. meles is distributed west of the Volga River, while M. leucurus is distributed from the Volga River to the east. The only locality of Asian badger distribution on the right bank of Volga River is the Zhiguli Nature Reserve (Abramov and Vekhnik, 2003). The Asian badger is widely distributed in the Urals and area easttward of the Ural Mountains. The sympatric zone between two badger species is country between the upper Volga and Kama rivers (Abramov et al., 2003). Corbet and Hill (1992) mapped occurrence into northern Lao PDR, but there is no evidence for it occurring there (Duckworth 1997) and this is assumed to have been in error. The species is found from sea level to 2,500 m in Tian Shen Mountains, potentially higher in Tibetian Plateau up to over 4,000 m.
Countries:
Native:
China; Kazakhstan; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Russian Federation
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The Asian badger is widespread and common.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The Asian badger is similar to the European badger. It prefers deciduous woods with clearings, or open pastureland with small patches of woodland, but is also found in mixed and coniferous woodland, scrub, suburban areas, steppe 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 mole. In the northern parts of its range the species hibernates during the winter months.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The 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 (Abramov pers. comm. 2006)

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The Asian badger is listed as Critically Endangered under criteria A2cd on the Chinese Red List (China Species Information Service 2007). The China Red List regards M. leucurus as occurring only in Tibet while the populations elsewhere in the country are treated as M. meles and are Near Threatened. According to Wozencraft (2005), only M. leucurus occurs in China and hence the existing Red Listing cannot be correct. Further studies are required to clarify this situation and accurately assess threat status in the region. The species is found in many protected areas throughout its range.

Citation: Abramov, A. & Wozencraft, C. 2008. Meles leucurus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 28 July 2014.
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