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Updates from the Team

Thank you Hans Helgensen!

Recently, Executive Director Adam Taylor gave a presentation to Kindergarten classes at Hans Helgensen Elementary on Vancouver Island Marmots. Adam taught them about their habitat, hibernation, and some of the challenges that Vancouver Island Marmots face.

We were absolutely delighted to receive a pair of beautiful thank you coloring books! These are a just a small sample of the wonderful drawings and facts the students shared.

Thank you for having us Hans Helgensen!

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First Marmot Signs of 2018

It’s time! The first Vancouver Island marmot emergence hole of the year was spotted today at Mt Washington by Field Coordinator Mike Lester. Mike notes that there are no tracks, but at least two of the marmots are detectable and alive! This is right on time for the marmots, and very exciting for us!

Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-15,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-Y

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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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Have an old tripod?

Do you have an old or faulty tripod that deserves a second chance at usefulness? The Marmot Recovery Foundation is looking for donations of up to 18 well-loved tripods to support wildlife cameras used to monitor marmots in very remote locations. As long as the tripod can stand securely, condition does not matter.

Requirements: 3 sound legs and stable when standing. The condition of the head unit does not matter (the camera will be strapped to the tripod).

How to donate:

Drop-off Locations: We have two locations where you can drop off tripods, at our field office in the BC government building in Nanaimo, and at Habitat Acquisition Trust in Victoria.

Nanaimo: 2080A Labieux Rd, Attn: Marmot Recovery project / Sean Pendergast

Victoria: Habitat Acquisition Trust, 825 Broughton St, Victoria (on the Mezzanine level) Attn: Marmot Recovery Foundation.

If you are in another part of BC, and are looking for a drop off location, please let us know! For the rest Canada, mail is always an option! Mail tripods to our regular address at :

Marmot Recovery Foundation
PO Box 2332 Stn A
Nanaimo, BC
V9R 6X9

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Groundhog Day 2018: Meet “Van Island Violet”

Groundhog Day is fast approaching, and many of us are waiting with baited breath for the marmots’ prognostication for spring. Is the Vancouver Island Marmot as skilled and knowledgeable predictor of future weather patterns as the better-known Groundhogs out east?

Answering this question poses some challenges. Our favorite marmot weather vane is “Van Island Violet”, a resident of the slopes of Mount Washington. However, as it turns out, on February 2nd Violet will be doing what she does every year at this time: hibernating under several meters of snow and rock.

Undaunted, and after years of research by dedicated staff at the Marmot Recovery Foundation, we have reached the following, wholly remarkable conclusion: a sleeping marmot is unlikely to see its shadow. Therefore, pending confirmation on Friday, an early spring is likely in the works.

Careful analysis of historic trends confirms that Vancouver Island’s spring is indeed significantly earlier than the rest of Canada’s. To our minds, this corroborates the Vancouver Island Marmot’s prognostication skill and our interpretation of their somnolent pronouncements, though the forecasts have not always been 100% accurate.

There are four species of marmots in Canada, including the best-known weather predicting marmot, the Groundhog (Marmota monax), and the Vancouver Island Marmot (Marmota vancouverensis). Only the Vancouver Island Marmot is considered at risk in Canada.

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