The Vancouver Island marmot (Marmota vancouverensis)
The Vancouver Island marmot is one of the rarest mammals in the world. Thanks to recent recovery efforts, the population has increased from a low count in 2003 of less than 30 wild marmots living in a handful of colonies to an estimated 250-300 marmots on 28 mountains in 2015 (counted at hibernation).
The Vancouver Island Marmot is listed as Endangered under the federal Species At Risk Act (SARA) and by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Species (COSEWIC). It is a Priority 1 species under the BC Conservation Framework and classified as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Endangered Species.
Recovery efforts are bringing the Vancouver Island Marmot back from the brink of extinction, but work remains to be done to ensure it has a secure future in the wild.
There are 15 marmot species in the world; all are found in the northern hemisphere. The Vancouver Island marmot is the only uniquely Canadian marmot and the only marmot specifically found on Vancouver Island.
Three other marmot species are found in Canada. The Hoary Marmot (Marmota caligata) is found in alpine elevations throughout the coastal mountains on the mainland of British Columbia and in the United States. The Yellow-bellied marmot (Marmota flaviventris) is found in the lower slopes and grasslands of British Columbia, Alberta and the United States. Finally, the common woodchuck or groundhog (Marmota monax) is found in the valley bottoms, lowlands and lower slopes throughout North America.
See Daniel Blumstein’s website: The Marmot Burrow for a list and description of all 14 marmot species found in the world.