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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2 days ago

Marmot Recovery Foundation

Spot the Marmot! (this one is very hard).

A bit of backstory to this photo: we received a report of a Vancouver Island Marmot on a residential property on Saturday. Field Coordinator Mike Lester went out to have a look and found this frightened guy hanging out in the woodshed. Mike was able to trap the marmot, and transport him to the Tony Barrett Mt Washington Marmot Recovery Centre.

This fellow will be re-released to a colony once he has a clean bill of health.

He is easy to spot once Mike caught him, but see if you can find the marmot's fur in the first photo.
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Happy Father's Day to all our Marmot Dads! Vancouver Island Marmot fathers play an important role in rearing pups. They play guard and teach socialization skills to the energetic youngsters.

We still have another few weeks before we learn who is mom and dad this year, as the young marmots will not emerge from the burrow until early July, but we're hoping for lots of new dads out there!

Thanks to Alena E.S. Conservation & Photography for the photo.
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Field Coordinator Mike Lester spent part of his Sunday catching this Yellow-bellied Marmot that was accidentally transported to Nanaimo. This marmot is now at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre waiting for transportation back to the Interior.

Why don't we want marmot tourists on the Island? First, marmots are most likely to thrive in areas where there are others of their species. Second, we don't want to transmit diseases between marmots species that would not normally encounter each other.

Just how are these Yellow-bellied Marmots getting to the Island? We don't know for sure, but we suspect they arrive in construction materials and large hay bales that may look like good burrows. Once these items start to move, the marmot may just hunker down for the ride. Another possibility is that they crawl into the underside of cars, which Yellow-bellied Marmots are known to do. Again, they may just hunker down until the end of the trip.

Regardless of whether it is a Vancouver Island Marmot or Yellow-bellied, if you see a marmot on Vancouver Island, let us know!
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