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Mountain Weasel

IUCN Status Globally: Near threatened (NT)

Status in Pakistan: In Kashmir. this species is listed as an endangered.

Scientific Name: Mustela altaica

Family: Mustelidae

Order: Carnivora

Class: Mammalia

Population Trend: Decreasing

Mountain_weasel PC: wikipedia.orgThis species of weasels is native to Pakistan and mature individuals continue to decline in numbers. Mountain Weasel range includes central and east Asia, with a range comprising China; Pakistan; the Himalaya in India (Kashmir eastward to Arunachal Pradesh), Nepal and Bhutan; eastern Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Mongolia and parts of Siberia in the Russian federation.

Habitat and Ecology

Weasel occurs only in exterior closed jungle habitats, characteristically in alpine meadows, boulders area, and rocky slopes. They are also found in the dried out steppes and plains, waterway valleys that have reeds and undergrowth and alpine meadows. These mammals belong to a terrestrial system. It mostly occurs close to nomads or domestic settlements and agriculture. It is solely carnivorous, preying largely upon Pikas, a variety of rodents, undersized birds, small reptiles and insects. It is primarily reliant on Pikas as their food source across a great deal of its range. It mostly searches for prey on ground but can climb rock-piles, navigate through boulders and fallen vegetation. In Pakistan, there prime habitat is meadows of Neelum valley, Lulusar Dudipatsar national park and Deosai plateu.

Major Threats

This species is vulnerable because of the continuing habitat conversion across most of its home range. These things seem to be going out of control with climate changes. Most critically, there are actions in the population control of their main prey Pika, which is a small plant eater mammal. These agriculture driven movements have exterminated the weasel’s prime food from major of its habitat. Another danger to the species occur because of the ‘mountain meadow’ deprivation on the Tibetan and Deosai plateaus. Most of the meadows suffer over grazing of vegetation by the life stocks of the Nomads and domestic herds. This species  cannot not tolerate a soaring degree of alteration to its habitat and it is shy to agricultural feilds. In some countries, like Nepal and China it is hunted down for the preparation of medicines. Lastly, in another places in its habitat, weasels are infrequently hunted, conceivably generally for fur, but most likely not at levels to drive population to being endangered.

 

References: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

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