“When Witches go riding and black cats are seen, the Moon laughs and whispers, ‘tis near Halloween” – Author unknown.
Needing comfort from the restless dead haunting your dreams? Does your heart need lightening during the dark of All Hallows’ Eve? Then relief we bring, because Buffy is here!
Buffy may not appear to fit the standard mould of monster slayer, being somewhat smaller and furrier than her more famous TV namesake. Can this small and unassuming marmot be a secret monster masher?
Consider this: Buffy lives in the wild Mount Washington colony, where, coincidentally, there are the fewest predators of all our marmot colonies. Is it because of Buffy? Do cougars and wolves dare not tread these hills due to her furry presence? Perhaps … or perhaps there are other factor at play. All we can say for sure is that we rest easier on the mountain knowing Buffy hibernates somewhere nearby.
At 7 years old, we hope Buffy has a few more years of keeping the forces of evil at bay before she passes the mantle on, perhaps to one of the pups she has nurtured along the way.
Photo by Jordan Cormack. Wooden stake added for ... illustrative ... purposes. ... See MoreSee Less
Canada Post Strike Update: We will get your donations! We want to assure you that your mail will reach us, despite the current limited job action at Canada Post. As you may have heard, Canada Post has begun rotating strikes, including here on Vancouver Island. The job action may impact how long it takes your mail to reach us, and vice versa, but mail will still be delivered.
More research! The Marmot Recovery Foundation is collaborating with Dr Jamie Gorrell of Vancouver Island University to map the genetics and as much of the captive and wild population as we can get samples from. When complete, this research will help us make more informed choices about which marmots to pair in the captive breeding program and where to release marmots. When our recovery effort began, the marmot population was frightening small. At its lowest point, fewer than 30 remained in the wild. With that severe population bottleneck in mind, the captive breeding program’s first priority has been to conserve genetic diversity and minimize inbreeding. But to do that, we have had to make assumptions. For instance, we assume that marmots from distant colonies are not closely related. In the wild, we assume that the male marmot that hibernates with the mother and engages in parenting duties is the father of the pups.
Dr Gorrell’s work will enable us to have a much closer look at the genetics of the marmots, and test whether our assumptions have always been right. If there are areas of concern, for instance a colony where all the marmots are more closely related than we believed (we’re looking you Alan, we know you get around, but just how much getting around have you been up to?), we can take corrective action. For instance, we could release marmots to the site, or even translocate marmots, to give a fresh infusion of needed genes.
We are really excited about Dr Gorrell’s work, and his results will help us better understand the marmots needs.
Humans know not to marry their cousins. But the endangered Vancouver Island marmot doesn't have much choice. One Vancouver Island researcher is now looking into the potential problem of marmot inbreed...