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Vormela peregusna

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA CARNIVORA MUSTELIDAE

Scientific Name: Vormela peregusna
Species Authority: (Güldenstädt, 1770)
Common Name(s):
English European Marbled Polecat, Marbled Polecat
French Putois Marbré, PUTOIS MARBRÉ
Spanish Turón Búlgaro, TURÓN BÚLGARO
Taxonomic Notes: The infra-specific taxonomy is not clear and further work on this is required (most of the work so far has been done on the pelts). The nominate subspecies is found in Europe.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2c ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Tikhonov, A., Cavallini, P., Maran, T., Krantz, A., Herrero, J., Giannatos, G., Stubbe, M., Conroy, J., Kryštufek, B., 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 Vulnerable under criteria A2c (population reduction). It seems reasonable to infer at least a 30% reduction in the population in the last ten years due to the loss of steppe habitat (especially in Europe and China). This reduction may continue into the future, as suggested by climate change models and land-use change, but it is difficult to say if it would be at the same rate.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The marbled polecat has a distribution extending from south-east Europe, through Asia Minor, the Middle East, the Caucasus, and Central Asia, to northern China and Mongolia. In Europe, it is found in Serbia and Montenegro, Macedonia, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkish Thrace, and southern parts of Ukraine (has in fact disappeared from most of the Ukraine, only present in the east) and the Russian Federation and the northern Caucasus (the steppe areas, not the mountains). It is also known to be widespread throughout the Middle East, having been recorded from just across the Sinai eastern border in Gaza (Harrison 1968), in Israel/ Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and northern Iraq and northern Saudi Arabia (Ellerman and Morrison-Scott 1951; Harrison 1968; Nader 1991). Saleh and Basuony (1998) report the first records of this species from Egypt, as it was recorded from two localities on the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula (southeast of Bir El Abd and just north of Gabal El Maghara). It occurs from sea level to 2,000 m. It is found up to 3,000 m in the Tien Shan Mountains.
Countries:
Native:
Afghanistan; Armenia (Armenia); Azerbaijan; Bulgaria; China; Georgia; Greece; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Israel; Kazakhstan; Lebanon; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Mongolia; Montenegro; Pakistan; Romania; Russian Federation; Serbia (Serbia); Syrian Arab Republic; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Ukraine; Uzbekistan
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It is rare throughout much of its range, and is classed as 'Rare' in the Russian Federation. Its northerly range is receding in the Balkans and Ukraine, and in European Russia. It has declined substantially in Europe in line with the loss of steppe habitats. Declines are also suspected in central Asia. It is less rare in central Asia than elsewhere, but not common there. The species has always been naturally rare. Though it appears to be common throughout northern Sinai, and well known to the local Bedouins there (Saleh and Basuony 1998). The largest population in the Middle East is reported to be in Israel (Michael Stubbe pers. comm. 2006).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species was recorded from a sparsely vegetated, sandy area southeast of Bir El Abd, northern Sinai, while another was recorded from a sandy area just north of Gabal El Maghara (Saleh and Basuony 1998). It inhabits desert, semi-desert and steppe habitats. It is a specialized predator, feeding mainly on desert and steppe rodents such as gerbils, ground squirrels, and birds. It is the most fossorial of all weasels.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The major threat to this species is the loss of natural steppe and desert habitats. Steppe habitats are declining in Europe as they are converted to cultivated farmland. Secondary poisoning by rodenticides may also be a threat, as are population declines in key prey species (a number of steppe rodent species are declining in Europe). In China, desertification is the major threat to the species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is strictly protected under Appendix II of the Bern Convention. Hunting for this species is prohibited in most countries across its range. It occurs in a number of protected areas across its range, but there is a need to increase the size of these. There is an urgent need to protect the remaining steppe habitat of this species. It is a flagship species for the steppe. A number of animals are in captivity, but a breeding program is not necessary. Russia's and China's Red List note the species as Vulnerable.

Citation: Tikhonov, A., Cavallini, P., Maran, T., Krantz, A., Herrero, J., Giannatos, G., Stubbe, M., Conroy, J., Kryštufek, B., Abramov, A. & Wozencraft, C. 2008. Vormela peregusna. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.1. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 22 July 2014.
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