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Updates from the Team

Summer Positions: Wildlife Technicians Application now Open

The Marmot Recovery Foundation is seeking summer Wildlife Technicians. We are looking for enthusiastic, hard-working individuals that have a passion for wildlife conservation, love to work outdoors, and want to contribute to the success of our exciting recovery program. We are accepting applications until February 7th, 2017.

Number of positions: 1-5 full-time, short-term positions.
Contract length: May 1 – September 1, 2017, with some possibility of extension through September.
Project base: Nanaimo, Vancouver Island.

Main tasks and responsibilities include:
• Hiking for several hours a day on steep, rugged, mountainous terrain with a 10-40lb backpack.
• Precise and consistent collection of inventory, survival, and reproduction data based on radio-telemetry detections and visual observations.
• Accurate and timely data entry.
• Live-trapping and care of Vancouver Island marmots under the direction of the project veterinarian.
• Driving 4×4 trucks on active logging roads, and occasional use of ATVs and/or snowmobiles.
• Camping on trips of up to 10 days in length (sites often accessible only by helicopter).

This project is based in central Nanaimo. Meeting times can be as early as 4am and field days can be very long. In the past, we have hired exceptional individuals that lived outside of Nanaimo; however, all candidates MUST expect to drive to Nanaimo for the start of each field day. No reimbursement for personal fuel or mileage will be offered. Due to the short length of the field season and the high likelihood that weather will change work plans and scheduled days off, candidates must be available for work throughout the contract period.

Successful candidates will possess:
• A Class 5 Drivers License (or equivalent).
• First Aid – minimum OFA Level 1.
• A high level of physical fitness.
• Experience with overnight hiking and camping trips.
• Experience driving 4×4 and all-terrain vehicles in steep, mountainous terrain.
• A detail-oriented mindset, and the ability to remember and follow specific directions regarding data collection protocols and animal care.
• A commitment to adhere to safety protocols and contribute to safe operating practices.
• Strong communication skills, a positive attitude, and the ability to contribute to a fun and supportive team environment.
• Experience working around animals and a knowledge of animal husbandry techniques would be a bonus.

To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and the names and contact information for three references to the Field Coordinator, Cheyney Jackson, at: cheyney@marmots.org.

Applications must be received by 4pm Wednesday, February 8. We would like to thank all applicants for their interest in this project. Only those applicants chosen for interviews will be contacted. We anticipate scheduling interviews in the weeks of February 20 and 27. Some positions may be funded by Summer Jobs Canada. Additional eligibility requirements may apply.

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Winter Tasks – Building Feeders

One of our winter tasks is building new feeders for spring. The goal of these feeders is help improve the body condition of wild marmots early in the year. The better their body condition is, the more likely it is they will breed – and wild pups are our goal!


We build these feeders to keep the food dry and they are designed to survive the harsh alpine spring weather. The marmots seem to enjoy the feeders almost as much as the food, and they often sit on them to get out of the deep snow!

Our food supplement is “primate biscuits”. These biscuits are designed for animals that eat leafy foliage, and they are a good nutrient match for our marmots.


Harry seemed to enjoy his!

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Remember the year that was, and thinking of years to come

As the end of the year approaches and I think back on the year that was, I recalled this lovely note that the Foundation received from Tom and Margaret. Their message wonderfully captures one of the great hopes I have for our work: that future generations will have the chance to experience seeing the marmot, and other endangered wildlife, in the wild.

Many thanks to Tom and Margaret for sharing this with us, and to everyone who has shared their stories with us. We love your messages and encouragement!

Adam Taylor, Executive Director

Hi Everyone –

On Father’s Day, June 19th our son-in-law, Brad, took the children up Mt. Washington to ride on the ski lift. On the way up they spotted a lone marmot on the right-and side of the lift. On the way down, about 15-20 minutes later, it was still sitting in the same spot. This time Brad had his camera out and took the enclosed pictures. (Between 5-5:30pm)

Even though we have supporters of your great recovery program for a number of years we have never had the fortune of seeing one of these beautiful creatures in the wild. I’m so glad my grandchildren have had the opportunity.

Please know we admire and appreciate all the good work you are doing to save our Vancouver Island marmots. Best wishes always.

Most Sincerely,

Tom and Margaret”

(Please note this scan was altered to remove personal information)

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Restoration work on Mt Moriarty

It’s November (just in case you’re not near a calendar). That means all the marmots should be in bed, and we should be busy writing field season reports. Things aren’t going to plan. 

Continuous, heavy rain delayed planned restoration work for over a month, but just as we were giving up hope, a brief break in the weather enabled us to get a crew into Mt Moriarty to restore a key feature of marmot habitat – sight lines.

When marmots see a predator near their meadow, they will sit up, often on a high rock near a quick escape into a safe burrow. If the predator gets too close, the marmots whistle to alert the rest of the colony, and if the predator continues to approach, the marmot will whistle again and then dive for its escape route. It is not a foolproof system, but it generally works reasonable well as long as conditions are right.

One of those conditions is maintaining sight lines. If the marmots cannot see the predators because of trees or branches, then the warning system falls apart. In the past, this cover was cleared from marmot meadows by avalanches, but a number of years of below average snow falls have allowed significant cover to grow in a number of meadows in the more southern marmot colonies.
Our first priority was Mt Moriarty in the Nanaimo Lakes region. Our restoration goal at Mt Moriarty was to remove this stalking cover by hand, restore the marmots’ sight lines, and minimize disruption to the marmots. In October, Crew Leader Mike Lester prepared the site with staff from BC Wildfire Service and Island Timberlands by flagging all marmot hibernacula – no work would be conducted too close to a burrow – and making safety plans for the site by marking and clearing debris from access trails, flagging hazards, and planning how to manage woody debris to eliminate any increased risk of wildfire with the BC Wildlife Service. After that, all we needed was a small patch of dryish weather and the work could get done.

We waited. And waited. And started making contingency plans. And finally, after a record-setting month of rain, we spotted a clearing in the weather. Mike and volunteers Sean, Jerry, and Alicia headed up to do the work. It can be hard to see in the photos, but they put in an incredible day and got about 95% of problematic cover removed! Hopefully, the marmots that hibernate in the meadow were blissfully unaware of anything unusual happening, and will awake in the spring to an improved view.

The Foundation is extremely grateful to Sean, Jerry, and Alicia, all whom work for the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations, for volunteering for a hard job and doing amazing work. Also to Island Timberlands and the BC Wildfire Service for coming out with Mike to prepare the site and assisting with safety and fire plans. Environment Canada’s Habitat Stewardship Program also matched donations and volunteer time for this work, which made this project possible. Thank you all!

We hope the marmots don’t notice a thing – except for predators of course!

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The Marmoteer – Online!

Followers of our work to recover the Vancouver Island Marmot have been receiving our annual newsletter the Marmoteer by mail. Now we’re happy to offer it as a online pdf file as well! This winter we’ll be working on an email distribution option – stay tuned! In this issue, find out more about our work to help the Strathcona population of marmots and meet our new Executive Director, Adam Taylor!

2016-marmoteer-web_page_1

 Download the 2016 Marmoteer!

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Here's a fantastic portrait of a pup by John Deal. John is a member of the Vancouver Island Marmot Recovery Team, a group of biologists from government, the private sector, NGOs, and academia that provide guidance and advice on our work to ensure there are more pups like this in the future! ... See MoreSee Less

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2 weeks ago

Marmot Recovery Foundation

Last month you met Johann, the most majestic of the marmots. Now, meet Hollis - the “Helen of Troy” of marmots and August's Marmot of the Month!

Back in 2015, Hollis was hotly argued over by veteran males George and Snoopy, with Snoopy (we think) claiming Hollis’ affections and fathering her 4 pups that year. Sadly, Snoopy and George have both since passed away.

However, in 2016, the marmot Macallan made an incredible journey, crossing the treacherous snowy mountains, glacial lakes, and deep ravines of Strathcona Provincial Park to find his way from Castlecrag back to his birth colony of Mt Washington.

What could have inspired Macallan to undertake such a dangerous journey? The answer may be the alluring Hollis, with whom Macallan has sired 4 more pups this year.

Hollis is playing an important part in the marmots' recovery. She is the mother now to at least 8 marmots, & her older children are going on to play important roles in several colonies themselves. Hollis has already accomplished much for her species, though she has yet to claim the title “Mother of Marmots” (hint, hint).
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