Author Archives: Adam Taylor

Meet Fleming

Here’s another newly named marmot from our 2015 name-a-pup contest: Fleming!

To be fair, Fleming isn’t a pup, but rather a year-old, but very shy marmot we missed last year. In fact, we weren’t looking for pups at all, but trying to get an update on Shiloh when we discovered Fleming. We believe Fleming is Shiloh’s brother – a great and happy surprise!

Unfortunately, Fleming is still too shy for the camera, so we don’t have any photos of him. Maybe next year!

Kirby: 2016 Name-a-Pup Contest Winners

Each year, those who Adopt-a-Marmot have the opportunity to submit a name for our Name-a-pup contest.  Winning names are drawn in the winter, and then when we identify new pups during the following summer, they are one of the winning names.

You’ll get an opportunity this fall to submit your name, but before then we thought we’d update you on pups getting named this summer.  There’s no particular order here, and not all pups have a picture – some are just too shy for the camera.

Let’s start with Kirby. Here Kirby is licking peanut butter off his mom’s face – I’m sure he’s just trying to helpful!

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Photo by Joey Chrishom.

New pups in Strathcona

What a relief for us after the hard winter in Strathcona Park! While Mike and Joey were releasing marmots, they spotted an unknown female with 2 wild born pups! The female has ear tags, but we can’t read them! But that’s alright, because all that really matters is the two wild-born pups playing on the rocks below her.  Many thanks to Joey Chrisholm, who was able to catch a picture of the mom with one the pups!

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First pups of the year spotted

UPDATE: Jordan sent these photos in of the pups! Original story below.

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And one more …

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Just in time for Canada Day, Jordan, a member of the Field Crew, spotted the first new-born pups of the year! The Crew hadn’t been able to locate Mystic this spring until Jordan spotted her with her 5 pups on June 28th.

Mystic has been all-star for the recovery of her species. Last year she had 6 pups, and now 5 again this year. For comparison, most Vancouver Island Marmots have 3 or 4 pups every other year.

Jordan took photos, and we’ll be sure to post them once she’s back from the Mountains. In meantime we’ll keep our fingers crossed that more pups are spotted as they start to emerge from their burrows in the summer!

5 Marmots Released to Mt Washington

The first of our 2016 summer releases went smoothly today (June 27th) when 5 marmots from the Calgary Zoo were released to Mt Washington.  There’s still 8 more marmots from the Calgary Zoo to be released, and a number more that will likely need to be translocated into suitable habitat, but its a great start! After the release into a nest box, the marmots are understandably a little skittish, but soon curiosity overcomes their fear, and they start to explore their new wild surroundings.  Here’s the first of today’s marmots taking in the view before fully committing to emerging from the nest box.

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While it is still early in the year for Vancouver Island marmots, our survey results so far have been positive. Overwinter survival for the marmots has been high, particularly among breeding aged females. This is exactly what we hope to find at this time of year. Later in the summer when pups start to emerge, we will be looking for signs of reproduction – that is to say active pups. We have feeders out at a number of colonies, which we believe may help the marmots reproduce more frequently. Our fingers are crossed that lots of those breeding-aged females have litters!

Many people have been asking about the weather. Vancouver Island has had a particular cold and wet spring, which followed a cold winter! However, it does not seem to have had any negative impact on the marmots. In fact, weather station data suggests that after a few mild alpine springs, this year’s alpine weather was closer to the historic norm.

While there is a lot of work ahead of us this year, this is good news for the start of the season!
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Vancouver Island marmots are emerging from hibernation. This is wonderful news, but also a challenging time of year for the marmots. As they recover from 7 months of sleep, the marmots rely on the last of their stored energy reserves. Once they have reinvigorated their digestive system, they are able to find food, even in the snow covered mountains. Conditions in the alpine this year are fairly normal, despite the poor weather we have had at lower elevations.

We have put out feeders, targeted to help females improve their body condition rapidly. In turn, we hope they will breed more often than they would without help.

The BBC did a great segment on the challenge Vancouver Island marmots face this time of year:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Svm6yqKx-Go
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