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

Just Posted

While recovering several items reported stolen from the set of a Netflix movie in early April, West Shore RCMP also seized drugs and drug trafficking items from a Colwood residence last week. (Black Press Media file photo)
Electronics, credit cards taken from Neflix set found in Colwood home

West Shore RCMP seize stolen items, drugs, trafficking materials

An elderly man having a medical emergency in Mount Douglas Park on May 13 was rescued by firefighters and paramedics with the help of ATVs. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Rescue team uses ATVs get man in medical distress out of Saanich park and to hospital

Cedarhill Road closed as firefighters, paramedics rescue man in Mount Douglas Park

Pathfinders and Wild Wise Sooke built slim, black bat houses to be hung around Sooke. (Submitted/Wild Wise Sooke)
Sooke teens build bat condos

Wild Wise Sooke says bats will sleep, hibernate and raise their young in the boxes

B.C. Centre for Disease Control data showing new cases by local health area for the week of May 2-8. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island COVID-19 local case counts the lowest they’ve been all year

On some areas of Island, more than 60 per cent of adults have received a vaccine dose

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 11

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Municipal governments around B.C. have emergency authority to conduct meetings online, use mail voting and spend reserve funds on operation expenses. (Penticton Western News)
Online council meetings, mail-in voting option to be extended in B.C.

Proposed law makes municipal COVID-19 exceptions permanent

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
British Columbians aged 20+ can book for vaccine Saturday, those 18+ on Sunday

‘We are also actively working to to incorporate the ages 12 to 17 into our immunization program’

The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)
2nd person in B.C. diagnosed with rare blood clotting after AstraZeneca vaccine

The man, in his 40s, is currently receiving care at a hospital in the Fraser Health region

Canada’s demo Hornet soars over the Strait of Georgia near Comox. The F-18 demo team is returning to the Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Sgt. Robert Bottrill/DND
F-18 flight demo team returning to Vancouver Island for spring training

The team will be in the Comox Valley area from May 16 to 24

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Bow-legged bear returns to Ladysmith, has an appointment with the vet

Brown Drive Park closed as conservation officers search for her after she returned from relocation

Brian Peach rescues ducklings from a storm drain in Smithers May 12. (Lauren L’Orsa video screen shot)
VIDEO: Smithers neighbours rescue ducklings from storm drain

Momma and babies made it safely back to the creek that runs behind Turner Way

Most Read