General Description: Corsac Foxes have the appearance of the genus Vulpes. A Corsac has a typically gray body with a whitish underside and silvery tones in the fur. Its fur also can occasionally have yellowish tones to it, especially in their summer coat. Their winter coat is thick and soft all over. It's tail is tipped black. The length of head and body is about 50 to 60 cm (20 to 24 in), the tail length about 22 to 35 cm (8.7 to 14 in). Its average weight is 2.7 kg (6.0 lb). For a fox, it has smaller teeth and a wide body. Rather than having a slender frame, it has wider shoulders than the Red Fox and is shorter, about the size of a domestic house cat. It's hooked claws help it climb trees in the wild.
Major Threats: One of the greatest threats to the Corsac Fox is being hunted for fur. In the late 19th century, up to 10,000 foxes were killed annually for pelt trade. Other threats include, but are not limited to, large birds, and mammals larger than them. Development in Kazakhstan in the mid-1850's caused a significant reduction of Corsac numbers in previously undisturbed habitats. In the 20th century several catastrophic population declines were recorded. During such crashes hunting on Corsac Foxes in the former Soviet Union was banned. For example, hunting of Corsac Foxes was stopped within the entire Kazakhstan territory from 1928 to 1938. Current population status, and the nature of major threats, is unknown in most regions. The western part of the range populations are recovering and their range expanding. In Kalmikiya large desert areas are changing into grass steppes, less suitable for Corsac foxes. In Middle Asia and Kazakhstan a dramatic decrease of livestock during the last decade influenced many ecosystems and wildlife populations. However, the exact influence of this process on Corsac populations remains unknown.
Corsac Foxes are protected in strict nature reserves (the highest protection status for the territory) and in national parks in China, Russia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Mongolia.
No special conservation programs have been carried out. Outside of protected areas, the Corsac has the status of game species.
All hunting and trading of Corsac Foxes is illegal in Afghanistan having been placed in 2009 on the country's Protected Species List.
Corsac Foxes breed well in captivity if given ample room with a very large enclosure similar to the steppes and rocky areas they would inhabit in the wild. In Moscow Zoo, during the 1960's, one pair of Corsac Foxes produced six litters during the time that they remained together. Corsac Foxes can become easily habituated to humans.
Gaps in Knowledge: There are several aspects of this species' biology that require investigation, including social organization and behavior, population structure, current distribution and population status in different regions, current levels of trapping/hunting impact, and other threats to the species (info from IUCN Red List).
Sources Accessed and modified, 3/23/2011: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corsac_fox