500

Mongolian Marmot

North Asia

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Marmota sibirica

Endangered

  • Uncontrolled hunting due to its meat and fur
  • Habitat destruction due to commercial development

The Mongolian Marmot, or the Tarbagan Marmot, is an endangered rodent species found in China, Northern and Western Mongolia, and Russia. These furry creatures are found beneath the soil, their burrows serving as their habitat and protection from predators and hunters. They build their habitats near grasslands and vegetation.

They are described as rodents with fat bodies, short limbs, and a bushy tail that is approximately one half of their body’s length. In addition, they weigh between six to eight kilograms and are about fifty to sixty centimeters in length. Their fur is mainly brown in color and fine in terms of texture. The color varies depending on the season. They are only active for six months before they hibernate. Every other year in April, they breed and produce three to four pups. The gestation period lasts approximately forty to forty-two days.

In 1947 alone, there were at least 2.5 million marmots killed for its meat which is eaten as a native dish in Mongolia, and for its fur which is greatly desired for its fine texture. Since the start of the 20th century until the early 1990s, more than 100 million marmot skins were prepared for sale. Relentless hunting continued until the 21st century because the price of pelts has skyrocketed and good road access enabled hunters to find marmot colonies faster.