Updates from the Team

Newest mystery marmot highlights value of public reports

Please spread the word to report marmot sightings on Vancouver Island! Sometimes even routine reports can teach us something new.

For instance, in a set of wonderful photos taken at Mt Washington by Anne Chapin, she flagged one untagged marmot in particular. We’re glad she did, as while we monitor the Mt Washington colony carefully, this marmot had either moved to the colony late in the year, or managed to escape notice all summer! Now next spring, we have a mysterious marmot to learn more about.

Other reports this year have led to rescuing Vancouver Island marmots from unsuitable habitats and helping Yellow-bellied marmots return to their native range on the mainland.

Reports from the public help a great deal, and we encourage anyone to share their encounters and photos with us.

Many thanks to Anne for this photo of our newest mystery marmot!

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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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Captive Breeding Program Wins Prestigious CAZA Award!

Our partners at the Calgary and Toronto zoos have won the prestigious North American Conservation Award from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in recognition of their exceptional species recovery efforts by participating in the Vancouver Island marmot captive breeding program.

Along with Mountain View Conservation Centre, a private facility in Langley BC, and our own Tony Barrett Mt Washington Marmot Recovery Centre, the zoos have played a huge roll in the success of the captive breeding program and gains in the wild.

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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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