The Calgary Zoo is aiding in recovery efforts for the Vancouver Island marmot, an endangered species. Pictured here, a marmot at Mount Washington. (Black Press file)

The Calgary Zoo is aiding in recovery efforts for the Vancouver Island marmot, an endangered species. Pictured here, a marmot at Mount Washington. (Black Press file)

Despite challenges, 2020 good year for Vancouver Island marmot population

In 2019, the foundation counted 60 pups; this year, it reached 46

As they approach hibernation, a once nearly-extinct species native to Vancouver Island is about to settle down for what was a relatively good year.

The Vancouver Island Marmot population has been recovering since the species nearly went extinct in the early 2000s, but thanks to The Vancouver Island Marmot Recovery Foundation, their population has risen, particularly with 106 pups born within the past two years, said Adam Taylor, the foundation’s executive director.

“It’s been a pretty good year. We were expecting an increase in the number of pups produced but we’ve had a really strong past two years.”

In 2019, the foundation counted 60 pups; this year, it reached 46.

VIMRF works with the Toronto and Calgary zoos for their captive-breeding programs in addition to their facility on Mount Washington. Taylor explained they really want to reinvigorate the program to see the population begin a more rapid recovery.

This year, they released 14 marmots into the wild from the program and three were translocated to enhance other colonies.

RELATED: Vancouver Island marmot populations gets boost with help from Calgary Zoo

“We’ve got a fair amount of capacity to release them. Within a few hours, the young marmots start interacting with the freshly-released ones.”

Following releases this summer and monitoring pups, Taylor said the team will spend the winter reviewing camera footage and acoustic recordings. For certain colonies that are only accessible by helicopter, the footage gives researchers a deeper knowledge of the marmots in those colonies.

With the acoustic recordings, the team monitors the marmot’s individual sounds – similar to voices, Taylor explained. The information is then used to create a report to develop and identify sites for future releases.

Another good sign for the species’ recovery is their resilience; between a wildfire near one colony in the Nanaimo Lakes region, a wet summer and heavy smoke from U.S. wildfires in the area, Taylor said he was happy how little the marmots were fazed.

“The speed at which they can adapt is amazing. We’re feeling really happy with what was a strange, strange summer – it was definitely one for the record books.”

Taylor credited their donors for truly saving the species.

“They literally would be extinct without support from people in B.C. and across Canada. If you take a look at the Vancouver Island wolverine, they are probably extinct now. Support worked for this species, and they were saved; what a difference that makes.”

For more information about the Vancouver Island Marmot and the foundation, visit marmots.org.



photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Klahoose First Nation village on Cortes Island is under lockdown until further notice due to a positive COVID-19 test. Photo courtesy Kevin Peacey.
Klahoose First Nation community locked down due to positive COVID-19 test

Cortes Island community has had one positive test, one other potential case

An aerial view of Zeballos. (Photo/A. Janisse)
Zeballos closes public service areas ahead of second wave

Library, landfill and village office closed until further notice, says mayor

Greenways Land Trust Executive Director Cynthia Bendickson points out one particular area of concern within the Baikie Island Nature Reserve that hasn’t benefitted from replanting efforts due to soil compaction and pollution from its days as a log sort. File Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror
Greenways Land Trust gets $275K for restoration work on Baikie Island

Two-year project will start with the development of a 10-year plan for the area

Campbell River city council recently held a roundtable meeting with leaders from the aquaculture and forestry industries to discuss how they can be part of a post-COVID economic recovery in the region.
Campbell River city council holds roundtable on aquaculture, forestry

Will go forward with quarterly meetings involving industry leaders to address issues in the sectors

The Carihi Fly Fishing Club is touted as an example of incorporating the outdoors into the education curriculum in SD72. Photo submitted.
SD72 schools and educators embrace outdoor education and learning outdoors

The Campbell River School District has embraced the movement to incorporate nature… Continue reading

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 887 new cases

Another 13 deaths, ties the highest three days ago

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Police in Nanaimo are looking for a suspect who wore a black-and-white striped hoodie and rode a yellow mountain bike when he allegedly stole three children’s backpacks from a daycare facility. (Photo submitted)
VIDEO: Thief steals children’s backpacks from daycare in Nanaimo

Suspect rode a yellow mountain bike and made off with backpacks hanging on fence

Arthur Topham has been sentenced to one month of house arrest and three years of probation after breaching the terms of his probation. Topham was convicted of promoting hate against Jewish people in 2015. (Photo submitted)
Quesnel man convicted for anti-Semitic website sentenced to house arrest for probation breach

Arthur Topham was convicted of breaching probation following his 2017 sentence for promoting hatred

Langley School District's board office. (Langley Advance Times files)
‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure B.C. schools over masks, class sizes

Parents from Langley and Surrey are worried about COVID safety in classrooms

Ladysmith’s 1st Avenue will be lit up until January 15. (Cole Schisler photo)
Light Up parade a no-go, but Ladysmith’s streets are still all aglow

Although the tradition Light Up this year was cancelled, folks can still enjoy the holiday lights

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
B.C. mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby now at home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

Gracie couldn’t stop nursing from her previous owner’s goats which was problematic given the goats were trying to be dried out to breed. Gracie now lives at A Home for Hooves. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Cowichan animal sanctuary gets international accreditation

A Home for Hooves farm sanctuary accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries

Most Read