The marmots only have a month or so of hibernation left, so its time to get up to date before a new field season starts!
Some highlights from 2021:
- The estimated wild marmot population increased to 258. That’s an increase of over 30% from 2020. Where did this increase come from? Well….
- There were at least 74 pups weaned in the wild this year. That is the most reproductive success we’ve seen in many years.
- As well, we documented three new marmot colonies. These historic marmot colonies had been extirpated during the marmot’s decline in the 1990s (or earlier). Now they’ve been re-established by dispersing marmots.
It wasn’t all good news from last year however. Significant challenges included unprecedented predation at Mount Washington. This ski hill colony usually has such low predation that we use the site as “training ground” for marmots that will be moved deeper into the wilderness in future years. It will take time to rebuild this important colony. There is also increasing evidence that the habitat at many marmot colonies is degrading as a result of climate change-induced tree creep. As a result of lower snow energy during the winters, many of the marmot’s tree-free meadows are slowly turning into forest. Fortunately this year we were able to restore habitat at 6 sites, but more work is needed.
You can read the entire report here: 2021 MRF Final Report_Mar15_web