Yury A. Bazhenov, Researcher of the Institute of Natural Resources, Ecology and Cryology of the SB RAS (672002, Russia, Chita, subscriber's box 1032); Researcher of the State Nature Biosphere Reserve «Daursky»; e-mail:

Reference to article

Bazhenov Yu.A. 2019. Current status of the Marmota sibirica (Sciuridae, Rodentia) population in Southeast Transbaikalia. Nature Conservation Research 4(1): 83–92.

Section Resarch articles

The Mongolian marmot or tarbagan (Marmota sibirica) is classified as Endangered (A2ad) on the Global IUCN Red List. We estimated the species status in Southeast Transbaikalia (Russia), the extreme northeastern part of the tarbagan's range. The population has been included in national and regional Red Data Books as Endangered taxon, too. Modern literature data on the status of the Mongolian marmot population in the region are scant and contradictory. In 2012–2018, the Mongolian marmot range has been investigated in the region. The abundance of this species has been established. Special attention has been attended to Protected Areas. As a result of this study, a total of 9200–11 500 adult Mongolian marmots (excluding young individuals) have been counted in Southeast Transbaikalia. The federal Sanctuary «Dzeren valley» is the key Protected Area for the Mongolian marmot's conservation and restoration in the region. In 2018, there were about 2000 family groups of the marmots in this sanctuary. The crucial tarbagan group in the sanctuary inhabits the valleys of the Nerchinsk ridge. An appropriate protection and very suitable natural conditions of this area are favourable for the restoration of the Mongolian marmot. A mean density of the Marmota sibirica population (2.0–3.0 habitable holes / ha) had been established there before the mid-XX century. The Mongolian marmot is successfully protected in some other Protected Areas: Daursky State Nature Reserve, Sokhondinsky State Nature Reserve, regional sanctuary «Mountain steppe», regional sanctuary «Oldondinsky», and regional sanctuary «Sredneargunsky». The species is almost extinct in the regional sanctuary «Aginsk steppe». More than half of all Marmota sibirica individuals in Southeast Transbaikalia are counted in Protected Areas. A presumed marmot migration from Mongolia to Zabaikalsky district, and to Borzinsky district from Zabaikalsky Krai (Russia) does not occur, because marmots have been exterminated in Mongolia nearby this part of the Russian border. Despite hunting prohibition, Marmota sibirica has been trapped in the settlement of Dornod (Mongolia) near the border with Zabaikalsky Krai (Russia).


abundance, Mongolian marmot, Protected Area, Red Data Book, Zabaikalsky Krai

Artice information

Received: 05.09.2018. Revised: 30.11.2018. Accepted: 19.01.2019.

The full text of the article

Armitage K.B. 2013. Climate change and the conservation of Marmots. Natural Science 5(5A): 36–43. DOI: 10.4236/ns.2013.55A005
Belov I.N. 2007. Preliminary assessment of the tarbagan population status in the south of the Eastern Transbaikalia. Proceedings of the Sokhondinsky State Nature Reserve 2: 225–234. [In Russian]
Brom I.P. 1945. Geographical distribution of the tarbagan and its abundance in the Southeast Transbaikalia. Irkutsk. 18 p. [In Russian]
Kardash A.I., Osipov V.N., Vakhrusheva Z.P., Bolotov V.V., Ushakova M.S. 2015. The Mongolian marmot (Marmota sibirica Radde, 1862) in Trans-Baikal region. In: A.A. Nikolskiy, K.I. Belovezhets, O.V. Brandler (Eds.): Past, Present and Future of Eurasian Marmots. Moscow: АBF Media Publ. P. 89–98. [In Russian]
Kirilyuk V.E, Puzansky V.N. 2012. Mongolian marmot, or tarbagan. In: Red Data Book of the Zabaikalsky Krai. Animals. Novosibirsk: Novosibirsk Publishing House. P. 40–41. [In Russian]
Kirilyuk V.E. 1996. Modern resources and distribution of the tarbagan (Marmota sibirica) in the Southeast Transbaikalia. In: Marmots of Northern Eurasia: conservation of biological diversity. Moscow: ABF. P. 47–49. [In Russian]
Kolesnikov V.V., Brandler O.V., Badmaev B.B 2009a. Folk use of marmots in Mongolia. Ethology, Ecology and Evolution 21(3): 285–287. DOI: 10.1080/08927014.2009.9522483
Kolesnikov V.V., Brandler O.V., Badmaev B.B., Zoje D., Adiya Ya. 2009b. Factors that lead to decline in numbers of Mongolian marmot populations. Ethology Ecology & Evolution 21(3–4): 371–379. DOI: 10.1080/08927014.2009.9522492
Mashkin V.I., Chelintsev N.G. 1989. Instruction on the organisation and carrying out of the account of marmots in the USSR. Moscow. 26 p. [In Russian]
Murdoch J.D., Munkhzul T., Buyandelger S., Reading R.P., Sillero-Zubiri C. 2009. The endangered Siberian marmot Marmota sibirica as a keystone species? Observations and implications of burrow use by corsac foxes Vulpes corsac in Mongolia. Oryx 43(3): 431–434. DOI: 10.1017/S0030605309001100
Nekipelov N.V. 1957. The number of marmots in the Southeastern Transbaikalia. Proceedings of the Irkutsk State Anti-Plague Institute of Siberia and Far East 16: 3–31. [In Russian]
Red Data Book of Russian Federation (Animals). Moscow: Astrel, 2001. 860 p. [In Russian]
Ross S., Kamnitzer R., Munkhtsog B., Harris S. 2010. Den-site selection is critical for Pallas's cats (Otocolobus manul). Canadian Journal of Zoology 88(9): 905–913. DOI: 10.1139/Z10-056
Rozhnov V.V., Poyarkov A.D., Brandler A.V., Gromov V.S., Badmaev B.D. 2005. Status of Mongolian marmot (Tarbagan) (Marmota sibirica Radde, 1862) in Russia in the beginning of the XXI century. Bulletin of Moscow Society of Naturalists. Biological series 110(4): 21–32. [In Russian]
Todgerel T. 2013. The current state and ecology of the populations of the Marmota sibirica Radde, 1862 in the central Mongolia. PhD Thesis Abstract. Ulan-Ude. 22 p. [In Russian]
Townsend S.E. 2009. Estimating Siberian marmot (Marmota sibirica) densities in the Eastern Steppe of Mongolia. Ethology Ecology & Evolution 21(3): 325–338. DOI: 10.1080/08927014.2009.9522487
Townsend S.E., Zahler P. 2006. Marmots in the Eastern Steppe: Evidence of a severe decline. Mongolian Journal of Biological Sciences 4: 37–44. DOI: 10.22353/mjbs.2006.04.04
Van Staalduinen M.A., Werger M.J.A. 2007. Marmot disturbances in a Mongolian steppe vegetation. Journal of Arid Environments 69(2): 344–351. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaridenv.2006.08.002
Yoshihara Y., Ohkuro T., Bayarbaatar B., Takeuchi K. 2009. Effects of disturbance by Siberian marmots (Marmota sibirica) on spatial heterogeneity of vegetation at multiple spatial scales. Grassland Science 55(2): 89–95. DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-697X.2009.00143.x