- Canis corsac Linnaeus, 1768
IUCN: LC; RDBUkr: Рідкісні
Value of species
Game (hunting) species
Corsac Foxes range widely across Asia and several subspecies have been described. However, three subspecies are generally recognized, namely V. c. corsac, V. c. kalmykorum and V. c. turkmenicus (Clark et al. 2009). Range-wide genetic assessments of taxonomy have not been undertaken.
Corsac distribution extends across much of Eurasia. One part covers the Middle Asian republics of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan, as well as steppe and forest-steppe areas of Russia, including the southern region of Western Siberia. In Europe its range reaches the Samara Region, Tatarstan to the North and northern Caucasia to the South. The second, much smaller area lies in southern Transbaikalia representing the northern periphery of the Mongolian and Manchurian section of the species' distribution. Outside Russia the species' range includes the steppe part of north-eastern China, including Manchuria, Inner Mongolia, and the region between Argun and Big Khingan, most of Mongolia except for its forested and mountain regions, Dgungaria, Kashgaria, Afghanistan (probably only northern) and north-eastern Iran. The southern limit of distribution is unknown, but it probably reaches to the mountain ridges separating the Tibetan Highlands from the north. Thus, the two ranges (western and eastern) are connected by a relatively narrow neck in the Dgungar Gate and Zaisan Basin region. In recent years, a westward area expansion has been recorded, particularly into the Voronezh region following active recovery of Baibak (Marmota bobak) populations. Occasionally, the species is recorded from the Ukrainian steppe (as far as Pavlodar to the West), eastern Transcaucasia (Azerbaijan) and, probably, western Kyrgyzstan.
In Russia the Corsac is rare in most regions, but common in western Siberia and Transbaikalia. It sometimes occurs in northern parts of western Siberia's forested steppes, but in low numbers. The species is common everywhere between the Volga and Ural rivers. In Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and northern China, the Corsac is common or abundant, although in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan the species is usually rare. Population status in Afghanistan and Iran is unknown.