Author Archives: marmots

Comox Valley Visitor’s Centre Features Rarest Marmot In The World!


If you’ve never seen a Vancouver Island marmot here’s your chance.

Just opened, this state of the art Visitor’s Centre will feature interactive alpine, ocean, agricultural and forest related displays including a life-sized marmot burrow

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Uniquely Canadian

Found only in Canada, the Vancouver Island marmot is one of the most rare and endangered animals in the world.

Easy to identify from other marmots by their chocolate brown coats with contrasting white patches on their muzzles, chest, and forehead, Vancouver Island marmots differ from other marmot species in behaviour, genetics and ecology. 

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Critically Endangered

Once distributed in alpine meadows throughout Vancouver Island, the marmot population rapidly declined in the 1990’s. By 1998, only 70 marmots were recorded in the wild.  (Read more)

Emergency Measures Needed

It was clear only emergency intervention could save the Vancouver Island marmot from extinction. A captive breeding program was established to safeguard and maintain the genetic diversity of the species. And provide animals for annual release back to the wild to support and rebuild the wild populations.  (Read more)

You Can Help

Vancouver Island marmot numbers are making a come-back in the wild thanks to our captive breeding and release efforts. But the populations are still too small and fragmented to continue to recover on their own.

An important part of our Canadian diversity  –  their only chance for survival is with our help. (Find out more)

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Marmot Love is in the … Burrow?

What the Vancouver Island Marmot needs is more marmots, and for that we need to encourage marmot romance! But what are the ingredients for a successful marmot entanglement? To be honest, we do not know everything that goes into making a marmot couple, but we are aware of a few trends:

Marmot who sleep together stay together: Marmots who hibernate together often produce litters the following spring. This is why we often highlight these hopeful pairs in the fall; they are a great bet to have pups soon. It’s not a sure bet though.

The way to a marmot’s heart is through its stomach: Feeding a litter of 3 to 5 hungry baby marmots takes a lot from a mother marmot’s body. As does seven months of hibernation. Female marmots need to be in peak physical condition if they are to have pups, so we look for marmots that have great body condition. Speaking of which…

Every marmot needs a break: The demands of babies and hibernation is too much for a marmot’s body to sustain every year. Most females take a year break between litters for their bodies to recover. We do not expect a female who had pups last year to have pups again this year.

Dad’s on the clock: Male Vancouver Island marmots often play an important role in raising their litter, including watching them while mom is out feeding – something she needs to do a lot of!

Keep it outside the family: With such a small population, inbreeding is a serious concern. Through strategic releases, we strive to make sure that marmots have unrelated, eligible partners to choose from.

Always full of surprises: Despite our best-laid plans, the marmots keep us on our toes. New marmots move into colonies, or out, when we least expect it. Marmots partners we were sure were set break up when a new mate suddenly appears. There is lots for us learn about marmot love!
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