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)

Vancouver Island marmot population gets boost with help from Calgary Zoo

Seventeen pups to spend winter at Mount Washington recovery centre before being released next spring

The Vancouver Island marmot population will get a boost thanks to assistance from the Calgary Zoo.

The marmots are listed as endangered on the Government of Canada’s species at risk public registry, but according to a press release, 17 marmot pups have been born at the Calgary Zoo’s Devonian Wildlife Conservation Centre this year.

The pups are under the watch of the zoo animal care team and will be transferred to Tony Barrett Mount Washington Recovery Centre, where they will spend the winter, said the press release, and are expected to be released in spring 2021.

The Calgary Zoo is also working with partners on an experiment that introduces supplemental feeding to improve body condition and potentially boost wild reproduction, said the press release. Marmots that hibernate with good body condition have a better chance at surviving the winter and conceiving pups in the spring, the release said.

Research teams from the zoo are in their third year of research and gathering data on rocky slope environments to obtain marmot body weights to investigate whether this could be utilized in conservation efforts.

Adam Taylor, executive director of the Marmot Recovery Foundation on Vancouver Island, said work that Calgary and Toronto zoos are undertaking is crucial to marmot recovery.

“Supplemental feeding was something that we started doing six or seven years ago and we had a few goals behind it. The big one was we wanted to monitor some of these remote sites that we can’t get access to very often … one of the things that we noticed was that at the sites where they had the supplemental food, it really felt to us like they were producing more pups than we would’ve normally expected and so that’s when we got the Calgary Zoo involved,” said Taylor.

RELATED: Two endangered marmots released on Vancouver Island

He said it’s been a collaborative effort over the past two years.

“Any tool that we can get that helps this population recover faster is just tremendous,” said Taylor. “We need to know that we’re having a positive impact. That’s really the big underlying question.”

There were an estimated 200 marmots on the Island at the end of 2019, said Taylor, with nine marmots being released on Mount Washington within the last two weeks.

According to the Government of Canada, the Vancouver Island marmot was originally designated as endangered in 1978, a status re-confirmed in 1997, 2000, 2008 and 2019.



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Karl on Twitter and Instagram

Endangered Species

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

Just Posted

Metchosin Coun. Kyara Kahakauwila is stepping down as deputy mayor following controversy over her decision to travel to Mexico in December. (Black Press Media file photo)
Councillor steps down as deputy mayor of Metchosin after controversial trip to Mexico

Mayor hopeful mediation will help council get back to the business of community

Members of the BC RCMP Explosive Disposal Unit (EDU) is on route to Drummond Park opposite of Fulford Habour on Saltspring Island after the discovery of a suspicious cylindrical-shaped device. (Google/Screencap)
Bomb disposal unit en route to Salt Spring Island after discovery of suspicious device in park

Police say a resident discovered the device Wednesday morning in Drummond Park opposite BC Ferries terminal

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

Victoria police arrested a man after at least 14 downtown locations were damaged Jan. 20. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Victoria glass smashing suspect believed to be water taxi thief

Man arrested for damaging at least 14 downtown locations

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

(Black Press Media file photo)
From arts to environment, nominate your West Shore hero

Nominations for the Goldstream Gazette’s Local Hero awards are open

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Oyster River Fire Rescue members were called out to a suspicious fire in Black Creek. Two vehicles parked at a private residence were destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy Oyster River Fire Rescue
Suspicious fire destroys two vehicles at Vancouver Island residence

Oyster River Fire Rescue personnel were dispatched to a fire at a… Continue reading

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

Seven streets in downtown Duncan, including Station Street, will soon have new native names added to their signage. (Submitted graphic)
New Duncan street signs will be in English and Hul’q’umi’num

Seven streets to get additional names in First Nations language

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 Jan. 19

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

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
One in five tests in Fernie area coming back positive: doctor

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Most Read