Playing Marmot Matchmaker is an important part of our work, and we could not do it without you. Your support has made it possible to pair up single wild marmots with captive born mates, and help the Vancouver Island Marmot population recover!
What does it take to match marmots?
First, is the obvious: you need two single marmots, one in the hand and one in the meadow (so to speak). The real problem is finding them! “We observe known marmot colonies closely, but sometimes young marmots will disperse to a new mountain home,” says the Foundation’s Cheyney Jackson. Expanding the wild population is one our primary goals, but tracking them down can be very challenging! Once located, Foundation staff can hike or airlift in selected marmots to help the fledgling colony grow. “Many of the most successful colonies we have today started out this way, and it is incredibly exciting when we find a marmot that dispersed somewhere new.”
In the captive breeding program, we know where all the marmots are, but there are still secrets to marmot love. One thing we have observed is that marmots that hibernate together often mate together in the spring. To make that happen, the Foundation’s Veterinarian Malcolm McAdie or staff at the captive breeding programs at the Toronto Zoo and Calgary Zoo will take hibernating marmots and put them into the same enclosure. The marmots start out in the separate hibernation boxes, but often when we check in a month or two later, they’ll be together in the same enclosure. The pups that result from these matches will be released to the wild in a year or two.
None of could happen without your support. Thank you for making it possible for us to recover this incredible and unique species!