Vancouver Island has mountains galore, but these mountains really vary in their size, spread, and accessibility. In the Nanaimo Lakes region, for instance, there are over a dozen mountains with Vancouver Island marmot colonies where field crew can drive close enough to survey the marmots in a single day. In Strathcona Provincial Park, however, the mountains are big – really big – and most colonies can’t be reached so quickly. In places like this, we rely on helicopters to help us monitor marmot survival and location. And it’s a good thing, too, because marmots do not always stay where we release them! Like many captive-bred or translocated animals that are released into new environments, marmots like to explore their new habitat. Some even explore their way off a mountain and up a new one! Last week, we conducted our end-of-season telemetry flights for the colonies in Strathcona Provincial Park, and we detected pairs of marmots on two completely new mountains. Although we would have liked the marmots to stay where we released them, this is still really exciting news. Biologists agree that one of the keys to the recovery of the Vancouver Island marmot is making sure that colonies are numerous and widely distributed, in order to protect them from catastrophic events. So even though these marmots make us work harder to find them, this expanding distribution is truly a positive sign for their recovery.