Theriologia Ukrainica
(former Proceedings of the Theriological School)

ISSN 2616-7379 (print) ISSN 2617-1120 (online)

2019 Vol. 17 Contents of volume >>>

download pdfTokarsky, V. A., Grubnik, V. V., Tokarska, N. V. The current state of the steppe marmot (Marmota bobak) population in the Striltsivsky Steppe. Theriologia Ukrainica. 2019. Vol. 17: 108-114.



The current state of the steppe marmot (Marmota bobak) population in the Striltsivsky Steppe


Tokarsky, V. A., Grubnik, V. V., Tokarska, N. V.


V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University (Kharkiv, Ukraine)


Theriologia Ukrainica. 2019. Vol. 17: 108-114.




Ukrainian, with English extended summary, titles of tables, captures to figs, and references


First marmot reserve of local importance was organised in Striltsivsky Steppe in 1923 when the numbers of marmots here were at the highest point in Europe. The status of Striltsivsky Steppe reserve was elevated to republican importance in 1948 (total area of 522 ha). In 1961 it became a branch of Ukrainian steppe reserve and later on, in 1968 became a part of Luhansk state reserve. In 1972 a perimeter-wise protective zone of 1 km width was created on an area of 1160 ha. Comparatively virgin pasture areas comprise the bulk of the territory of the zone. The area of the branch Striltsivsky Steppe was enlarged for 502 ha by inclusion of the territories of Glinyanyi and Kreidyanyi ravines and Cherepakha river valley before the perimeter-wise zone was added to protected territory in 2004. The strongholds of the marmot population were concentrated here but after the establishment of protective regime the numbers started to fall. In 2006 marmots disappeared from Glinyanyi ravine and only a few family groups remained in Kreidyanyi ravine. The negative trend in marmot abundance is observed now within the whole territory of the reserve after cessation of grazing and haying practice. The most catastrophic decline was evidenced for the last three years. Only 4 of 20 families remained in Cherepakha river valley to May 2018. The total of up to 20 family groups survived within the territory of the reserve to date. These are concentrated on the periphery of the territory in three groups of families. Predator pressure is another factor of threat for marmots. The case of predation of Rooks (Corvus corax) on young-of-the-year marmots are known but the heaviest impact is that of predation of feral dogs as well as of wolves and foxes which are quite common in North-eastern Ukraine. The effect of predation was aggravated by the fragmentation of the territory populated by marmots because steppe areas become overgrown by shrubs. Grazing should be applied as a first-line conservation measure or otherwise haying and prescribed burning may be used as a substitution practice. The programmes of application of these methods and relevant experiments should be developed and launched on vast areas to guarantee the conservation of the steppe marmot population.


Striltsivsky Steppe, steppe marmot, grazing, haying, protection regime.



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created: 16.06.2019
updated: 01.10.2019

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