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Abundance control and conservation of sousliks in Russia (G. spermophilus)

  • Applied Problems of Arid Lands Development
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There are nine species of sousliks from the Spermophilus genus in Russia (Latin and Russian names of sousliks are taken from the work of Pavlinov et al., 2002). Representatives of this group are considered agricultural pests and hosts of agents of zoogenous infections. For these reasons, people have been struggling against them for 200 years. Modern methodologies for plague disinfestation recommend that four species of sousliks (Spermophilus musicus, S. dauricus, S. pygemaeus, and S. undulatus) be exterminated. The redcheeked souslik (S. erythrogenys) is exterminated as a pest. Taking into consideration the general trend toward conserving species diversity of living organisms, whether they have a negative impact on humans or not, it is necessary to reconsider our treatment of sousliks as pests and encourage a more intensive conservation of these rodents, which are biocenotically significant for arid and semiarid ecosystems. Four out of nine species of sousliks in Russia are registered as having a permanent decrease in their number (the red-cheeked souslik, spotted souslik, little souslik, and Daurian souslik). Two species of sousliks (the Caucasian suslik and the Daurian souslik) occupy restricted natural habitats, which increases their risk of becoming extinct. Measures on the conservation of sousliks in Russia should be coordinated with organizations that control their abundance.

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Correspondence to S. A. Shilova.

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Original Russian Text © S.A. Shilova, 2011, published in Aridnye Ekosistemy, 2011, Vol. 17, No. 4(49), pp. 97–106.

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Shilova, S.A. Abundance control and conservation of sousliks in Russia (G. spermophilus). Arid Ecosyst 1, 267–272 (2011).

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