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 marmot (Marmota bobak) population in the Striltsivsky Steppe. Theriologia Ukrainica. 2019. Vol. 17: 97-103.



The current state of the 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: 97-103.




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


The first marmot reserve of local importance was organised in Striltsivsky Steppe in 1923 when the number of marmots here was the highest 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 the Ukrainian Steppe Reserve and later, 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 by 502 ha by inclusion of the territories of Glinyanyi and Kreidyanyi ravines and Cherepakha river valley before the perimeter-wise zone was added to the protected territory in 2004. The strongholds of the marmot population were concentrated here but the numbers started to decrease after the establishment of protective regime. 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. A total of 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-east 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.



Abelentsev, V. I. 1971. Baibak in Ukraine. Fauna and ecology of rodents. Vol. 5. Moscow State University, Moscow, 217233. (In Russian)
Akimov, I., I. Kozak, K. Perzanovski. 1999. Possible use of Przewalski horse in restoration and management of an ecosystem of Ukrainian steppe a potential program under large herbivore initiative WWF Europe. Vestnik zoologii. Suppl.  1: 79.
Averin V. G. 1923. The reserve on the baibakov. Hunting and fishing, 3-4: 15. (In Russian)
Bilik, G. I., V. S. Tkachenko. 1971. Vegetation of the Striltsivsky steppe. Ukrainian Botanical Journal, (5): 613617. (In Ukrainian)
Borovik, E. 2014. Structural changes of the steppe marmot (Marmota bobak) family areas under succession in reserve areas. Proceedings the Theriological School, 12: 8188. (In Ukrainian)
Borovik, L. P., E. N. Borovik. 2006. The problem of the mode of conservation of the steppe in reserves: an example of Streltsovskoy steppe. Steppe bulletin, 20: 3133. (In Russian)
Borovyk, Ye. 2006. Dynamics of number of the marmot (Marmota bobac Muller, 1776) at the territory of "Striltsivsky Steppe" natural reserve. Proceedings of the Theriological School. Vol. 8: 212216. (In Russian)
Chibilev, A. 1999. 10 years have passed since the organization of the Orenburg Reserve, the first present reserve in Russia. Steppe Bulletin, 5: 2628. (In Russian)
Litvinenko, I. O. 1928. Some data on the distribution of marmots in steppes Starobilsk districts. Materials of Nature Protection in Ukraine. Printing House of Petrovsky, "Poltava-Polygraph", Kharkiv, 9093. (In Ukrainian)
Ronkin, V. I., G. A. Savchenko. 2000. Dependence of habitat suitability for the steppe marmot, Marmota bobak (Rodentia, Sciuridae) on the structure of vegetation cover. Zoologicheskii Zhurnal, 79 (10): 12291235. (In Russian)
Ronkin, V. I., G. A. Savchenko. 2004. Effect of cattle grazing on habitats for the steppe marmot (Marmota bobak)in north-eastern Ukraine. Vestnik zoologii, 38 (1): 5560.
Sakhno, I. 1963. Baibak in Streletskaya Steppe. Hunting and Hunting Economy (Moscow), No. 11: 2324. (In Russian)
Seredneva, T. A. 1985. Population density of steppe marrows and factors affecting it. Vestnik zoologii, No. 5, 6872. (In Russian)
Tkachenko, V. S. 2009. "Striltsivsky step" in phytocoenotic monitoring of Starobilsk steppes. Visti Biosphere Reserve Askania-Nova, 11: 619. (In Ukrainian)
Tkachenko, V. S., L. P. Borovik, T. V. Sova, G. M. Lysenko. 2009. The structure of vegetation in new area of the Striltsivsky steppe Reserve (Luhansk Oblast, Ukraine). Visti Biosphere Reserve Askania-Nova, 11: 3547. (In Ukrainian)
Tokarsky, V. 2015. A pasture of big ungulate animals as key ecological factor influencing on the fluctuation of natural habitat of steppe herbivorous mammals. Vestnik zoologii, 49 (2): 451456.
Tokarsky, V. A. 2007. The influence of grazing as a zoogeographical factor on the population of the steppe marmot (Marmota bobak Mull. 1776) in protected areas. Zapovdna Sprava v Ukraini, 13 (1-2): 6165. (In Russian)
Tokarsky, V. A. 2008. Steppe marmot (Marmota bobak) as a structural-functional link in the steppe biocenoses of Ukraine. Proceedings of the Theriological School, 9: 243249. (In Russian)
Tokarsky, V. A., V. I. Ronkin, G. A. Savchenko. 2006. Key environmental factors of the revival of the European subspecies of the steppe marmot in the middle of the twentieth century and its depression at the turn of the twentieth and twentieth centuries. Bulletin of Kharkiv National University. Biologyseries, 729: 193201. (In Russian)
Voinstvensky, M. A., A. B. Kistyakovsky, V. V. Parkhomenko, et al. 1963. Results and prospects for the acclimatization of game animals in the Ukraine. Acclimatization of animals in the USSR. Publishing House of AS of Kazakh SSR, Alma-Ata, 7076. (In Russian)


to main page of journal >>>

created: 16.06.2019
updated: 01.10.2019

Locations of visitors to this page