Vormela peregusna 

Scope: Global

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Mustelidae

Scientific Name: Vormela peregusna
Species Authority: (Güldenstädt, 1770)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Marbled Polecat, European Marbled Polecat
French Putois Marbré
Spanish Turón Búlgaro
Mustela peregusna Güldenstädt, 1770
Taxonomic Notes: Marbled Polecat infra-specific taxonomy is not clear and further work on this is required (most of the work so far has been done on pelts).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2c ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-03-03
Assessor(s): Abramov, A.V., Kranz, A. & Maran, T.
Reviewer(s): Schipper, J. & Duckworth, J.W.
Contributor(s): Tikhonov, A., Cavallini, P., Herrero, J., Giannatos, G., Stubbe, M., Conroy, J., Krystufek, B. & Wozencraft, C
Marbled Polecat is listed as Vulnerable under Criterion A2c (population reduction over the last 10 years through habitat loss). It seems reasonable to infer at least a 30% reduction in the population in the last ten years (slightly longer than three generations; Pacifici et al. 2013) because of the heavy loss of steppe habitat (especially in Europe and China). This reduction is likely to continue into the future, as suggested by climate change models and land-use change, but it is difficult to predict if it would be at the same rate.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Marbled Polecat occurs 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, southern parts of Ukraine (but it has disappeared from most of the Ukraine, persisting only in the east), the south of the Russian Federation and the northern Caucasus (in the steppe areas, not the mountains). It is widespread in the Middle East, having been recorded from Israel/Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, northern Iraq and northern Saudi Arabia (Ellerman and Morrison-Scott 1951, Harrison 1968, Nader 1991, Werner 2012). In Israel its southern range border is retreating northward (Werner 2012). Two localities in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula (south-east of Bir El Abd and just north of Gabal El Maghara) constituted the first records from Egypt (Saleh and Basuony 1998). In China it has been recorded from the provinces of Nei Mongol, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai and Xinjiang (Wang 2003). In Mongolia it occurs in the west, south and, locally, centre (Dulamtseren et al. 2009). It occurs from sea level to 2,000 m, and up to 3,000 m in the Tien Shan Mountains.
Countries occurrence:
Afghanistan; Armenia (Armenia); Azerbaijan; Bulgaria; China; Egypt (Sinai); 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
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):UnknownEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:>20,000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):YesExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Yes
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:Unknown
Upper elevation limit (metres):3000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Marbled Polecat is rare throughout much of its range, apparently naturally so. It is classed as 'Rare' in the Russian Federation. Its northern range border is receding in the Balkans, Ukraine, and European Russia, as is its southern border in Israel (Werner 2012). It has declined substantially in Europe in line with the loss of steppe habitats. Declines, even extirpation, are also suspected in much of the eastern part of its range (Sadikov 1983, Shagdarsuren and Erdenejav 1988, Anonymous 1991, Shiirevdamba 1997, Rozhnov 2001, Putintsev et al. 2002, Clark et al. 2006). It is believed to be less rare in central Asia than elsewhere, but even so, it is not common there. It was perhaps common in northern Sinai, Egypt, being well known to the local Bedouins (Saleh and Basuony 1998), but the most recent record from Sinai traced by Basuony et al. (2010) was from 1996 and they then considered it to be "very rare" in Egypt. The largest population in the Middle East is reported to be in Israel (M. Stubbe pers. comm. 2006).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:UnknownPopulation severely fragmented:Unknown
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Yes
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:UnknownAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species inhabits desert, semi-desert and steppe habitats, but, at least in Israel, also cultivated landcapes (Werner 2012). It is a specialised predator, feeding mainly on desert and steppe rodents such as gerbils, ground squirrels and birds. It 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 is the most fossorial of all weasels.
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):3.1
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Hunting is perhaps a significant cause of decline in at least Israel (Werner 2012) but is apparently unusual (or perhaps simply undocumented?) elsewhere in the species's range.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The major threat to Marbled Polecat is the loss of natural steppe and desert habitats. Steppe habitats are declining in Europe through conversion to cultivated farmland. Secondary poisoning by rodenticides might also be a threat, as are likely to be 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. Hunting is perhaps a significant cause of decline in at least Israel (Werner 2012).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Marbled Polecat 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 many may be too small to conserve this species effectively. There is an urgent need to protect the remaining steppe habitat of this species. It is a flagship species for the steppe. An EEP programme has been launched by European zoos for captive management. China's Red List notes the species as Vulnerable. It is listed as threatened in Uzbekistan (Sadikov 1983), Kazakhstan (Anonymous 1991), Russia (Rozhnov 2001) and Mongolia (Shagdarsuren and Erdenejav 1988, Shiirevdamba 1997, Clark et al. 2006). The intraspecific taxonomy is unclear and therefore it is unclear if the whole species can be regarded as one conservation management unit.

Citation: Abramov, A.V., Kranz, A. & Maran, T. 2016. Vormela peregusna. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T29680A45203971. . Downloaded on 24 October 2016.
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