Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/. Previously, the marmot population in Khar Yamaat Nature Reserve had been declined and rarely seen due to a number of human-induced activities such as poaching. Therefore, WWF-Mongolia specialists in collaboration with relevant parties started the re-introduction of marmots in the Nature Reserve in 2019. Under this project, they have re-introduced a total of 100 individuals of Siberian marmot (Marmota sibirica) from Khustai National Park over the last three years.
Prior to this work, field researchers from the National University of Mongolia studied vegetation and habitat characteristics of Khar Yamaat Nature Reserve and scientifically identified the areas, where marmots could be re-introduced. Moreover, the marmot re-introduction proposal was presented and discussed among local residents for their comments. The local residents fully support the project proposal and the marmot re-introduction project continues successfully. Specialists from WWF-Mongolia, in collaboration with rangers, are conducting a monitoring study to determine the distribution and breeding success of re-introduced marmots for the last three years. According to the study, the death toll of the marmots was low, so experts suggest continuing the marmot re-introduction in the area in the future.
The monitoring study conducted in May 2022 showed a population growth of the re-introduced marmots and assessed it as normal based on the documentation of new holes and their earth heaps appeared within the re-introduced area. “Overall, sustained marmot population growth requires a certain period of time, so increased participation of local communities and volunteer rangers is vitally important for the successful continuation of the marmot re-introduction project ”, according to the experts. The Nature Reserve’s rangers and volunteer rangers will continue the monitoring study on the re-introduced marmots.