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Alan is our February Marmot of Month

The ocean is lovely, but it is not marmot habitat. So when we received a phone call in 2015 from the seaside Bamfield Marine Science Centre about a marmot at their facility, we were skeptical. It made no sense. There are no marmot colonies, no marmot habitat, and no reasons we could fathom for a marmot to be anywhere near Bamfield.

We requested evidence. To which Dr. Reynolds and his students responded by sending us a photo. Of a marmot, on the beach. It’s hard to say whether this mystery marmot was enjoying his visit to the shore, or confused about the lack of alpine flowers, but regardless, he was there, and we figured he might need some help getting back to mountains. With the help of Dr. Reynolds and his students, we were able to trap the marmot now dubbed “Alan,” and release him to the colony at Haley Lake Ecological Reserve.

At this point, you may have some questions. Where did Alan come from? We don’t know. How did survive the minimum of 50km (and probably much more) of forests, rivers, and inlets between the nearest marmot colonies and Bamfield? We don’t know that either. Does he enjoy surfing and nibbling on eelgrass? Please stop.

Why did Alan travel all that way? Well, yes, we don’t strictly speaking know that either, but we can guess at this one. At 2 years old, many marmots, particularly males, leave their birth colony to look for new potential mates. Sometimes, they get lost or pick the wrong direction. When you consider the vast mountain wilds and the relatively small and hidden marmot colonies, it is remarkable that marmots ever manage to find another colony, though many do. Our guess is that Alan however  picked the wrong direction and then just kept going.

Alan has continued his adventures, though thankfully choosing to stay in marmot habitat. After a three year tour of the Nanaimo Lakes region, he returned to Haley Lake, and is currently hibernating with Muffin. Hopefully, in the summer ahead Alan will finally try out being a Dad!

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Marmot Keeper and Marmot Technician postings closed

Thank you to everyone who expressed interest in the Marmot Technician and Marmot Keeper positions. We received over 350 applications for the positions, and will be reading all of them over the next couple weeks.
 
While we would love to hire everyone, unfortunately we only have a few positions available. Your enthusiasm for the marmots and our work warms our hearts during these cold winter months.

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Marmot Love is in the Burrow

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! The marmots are sleeping right now, but marmot love is still in air! Here are a few of the things we’ve observed as we watched the marmots from afar.

That “Marmot Kiss”. We regularly observe marmots touching noses. It is almost always pups with a parent or between a pair of bonded adults. We call this pair bonding – an activity that strengthens the relationship between a pair of marmots. It is just as sweet to see in the wild as you expect.

Marmots who Sleep Together Stay Together. Marmots who hibernate in the same burrow often become a pair (hopefully with pups). We’ve observed a number of occasions when seen two marmots who couldn’t stand each other in the fall, but hibernate in the same burrow, have a change of heart when they wake up. Sometimes they even go on to raise pups together. (It must be noted that this is always what happens. Some marmots are just not compatible, no matter what!)

A marmot is never too old for love. This winter, two of our favorite marmots are hibernating together, and our fingers are crossed for pups in the spring. One the of the remarkable things about this pair is that the female is Muffin. She is 12 years old – one of the oldest wild marmots ever!

Sometimes you to have go looking for love. That marmot hibernating with Muffin? That’s Alan the Bamfield Marmot! Alan is quite the traveler, having found his way first to coast. Then after we relocated him to Haley Bowl, he had explore alllllllll the nearby colonies before coming full circle last spring and falling in with Muffin at Haley. Will he settle down? We think so, as he and Muffin have spent a lot of time together this past summer.

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A new Job Posting: Marmot Keeper

To further the recovery our favorite marmot, we have additional need for marmot care at our Mount Washington Centre, and are seeking a Marmot Keeper. Interested? Read on! Know someone who would be perfect? Please share!

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: February 18th, 2019

The Marmot Recovery Foundation is seeking a qualified individual to provide seasonal animal care to captive Vancouver Island Marmots at the Tony Barrett Mount Washington Marmot Recovery Centre on Vancouver Island. We are looking for an enthusiastic, passionate and responsible person to work on a unique captive breeding and reintroduction program involving a critically endangered Canadian species.

Contract length: Approximately May 1 to September 30, 2019, with some possibility of extension through October.

Contract structure: Fixed-term employment contract, starting at $2,780/month.

Qualifications:

  • Completion of a university degree in the life sciences (or equivalent) or current enrollment in a degree program
  • Or, training as an Animal Health Technologist
  • Or, a strong background and sound knowledge in animal management and handling. Experience with captive wildlife would be considered a strong asset
  • A detail-oriented mindset and keen observation skills
  • Ability to work independently while following specific directions and protocols
  • Ability to lift 22kg, and transport this amount of weight short distances
  • Strong communication skills, a positive attitude and an even temperament
  • Physical capacity and willingness to provide support to MRF field staff working at Mount Washington. This includes observations, radio-telemetry, and live-trapping of wild marmots which is conducted in steep terrain under variable weather conditions

Main tasks and responsibilities include:

  • Daily feeding, cleaning, observation and general care of captive marmots maintained at the Mount Washington facility
  • Assistance with animal handling and veterinary procedures (including anesthesia)
  • Maintain animal records
  • Basic building maintenance and security

This work is based at Mount Washington on Vancouver Island (near Courtenay, BC). Although the position is typically five days per week, there will be a requirement to work some weekends and holidays, with occasional long days involving early mornings and late evenings. Suitable candidates will be expected to have some schedule flexibility.  

To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and the names and contact information for three references to the Project Veterinarian / Captive Breeding Co-ordinator Dr. Malcolm McAdie at: animalcare@marmots.org.  Only applicants selected for an interview will be contacted.

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Apply to join our Field Team this summer!

We are now accepting applications for our summer field team! 

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.    

Number of positions: 1-4 full-time, short-term positions.

Contract length: May 1 – August 31, 2019, with some possibility of extension through September.
Contract structure: Fixed-term employment contract, starting at $2,780/month.
Project base: Nanaimo, Vancouver Island. 

Main tasks and responsibilities include:

  • Hiking for several hours a day on steep, rugged, mountainous terrain with a 30-40lb backpack.
  • Precise and consistent collection of inventory, survival, and reproduction data based on radiotelemetry 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 cannot be assured of conventional weekends and must be flexible to work at any time during 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 and stamina.
  • Experience with multi-day backcountry 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 and caring for animals would be an asset.

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

Applications must be received by 4pm Monday, February 11. Only those applicants chosen for interviews will be contacted. We anticipate scheduling interviews in the week of February 25. Some positions may be funded by Summer Jobs Canada. Additional eligibility requirements may apply. Short-listed candidates will be invited to a non-mandatory field experience day in late February. This event will facilitate candidate demonstration of backcountry fitness and aptitude for learning specialist techniques.

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Our Marmot of the Month is Alan
The ocean is lovely, but it is not marmot habitat. So when we received a phone call in 2015 from the seaside Bamfield Marine Science Centre about a marmot at their facility, we were skeptical. It made no sense. There are no marmot colonies, no marmot habitat, and no reasons we could fathom for a marmot to be anywhere near Bamfield.
We requested evidence. To which Dr. Reynolds and his students responded by sending us a photo. Of a marmot, on the beach. It’s hard to say whether this mystery marmot was enjoying his visit to the shore, or confused about the lack of alpine flowers, but regardless, he was there, and we figured he might need some help getting back to mountains. With the help of Dr. Reynolds and his students, we were able to trap the marmot now dubbed “Alan,” and release him to the colony at Haley Lake Ecological Reserve.

At this point, you may have some questions. Where did Alan come from? We don’t know. How did survive the minimum of 50km (and probably much more) of forests, rivers, and inlets between the nearest marmot colonies and Bamfield? We don’t know that either. Does he enjoy surfing and nibbling on eelgrass? Please stop.

Why did Alan travel all that way? Well, yes, we don’t strictly speaking know that either, but we can guess at this one. At 2 years old, many marmots, particularly males, leave their birth colony to look for new potential mates. Sometimes, they get lost or pick the wrong direction. When you consider the vast mountain wilds and the relatively small and hidden marmot colonies, it is remarkable that marmots ever manage to find another colony, though many do. Our guess is that Alan however picked the wrong direction and then just kept going.

Alan has continued his adventures, though thankfully choosing to stay in marmot habitat. After a three year tour of the Nanaimo Lakes region, he returned to Haley Lake, and is currently hibernating with Muffin. Hopefully, in the summer ahead Alan will finally try out being a Dad!
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Thank you to everyone who expressed interest in the Marmot Technician and Marmot Keeper positions. We received over 350 applications for the positions, and will be reading all of them over the next couple weeks.

While we would love to hire everyone, unfortunately we only have a few positions available. Your enthusiasm for the marmots and our work warms our hearts during these cold winter months.
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook