Protection of species of special concern
Status of the marmot populations in Mongolia
Yansanjav Adiya (Institute of Biology, Ulaanbaatar) and Oleg Brandler (Koltzov Institute of Developmental Biology, Moscow)
Surveys undertaken from 2007-2009 showed that the marmot population size in Mongolia totals 8 million individuals with most of them being the Mongolian or Tarbagan marmot (Marmota sibirica), while approximately 930,000 are the Gray or Altai marmot (Мarmota baibacina). The estimated maximum population size, corresponding to the most favourable conditions, is almost 21 million, ie. the current population size is nearly three times lower than the optimal level. The status of marmot populations over almost the entire study area is considered to be depressed.
The principal factors affecting the status of marmot populations in Mongolia were identified and ranked for different parts of their range. The main causes of population decline are the increasing number of animals that are hunted, changes in the way hunting is conducted and high population numbers of natural predators.
Additional field surveys and interviews with local people in the eastern and southern provinces of Mongolia confirmed that most marmot populations in these areas are in depression or decline.
A list of recommendations on what needs to be done to encourage the recovery of marmot populations in Mongolia is given.
Key words: Mongolian or Tarbagan marmot, Tarvaga (Marmota sibirica), Gray or Altai marmot (Мarmota baibacina), population status, decline in number, hunting ban, population density, protection of marmot colonies, restoration of rodent populations, Mongolia
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