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Updates from the Team

Hide and Seek

Our field season kicked off on May 1st, and in their very first week on the project, field crew already discovered something new and exciting – there was an extra litter of marmot pups on Mt. Washington last year! Vancouver Island marmot pups are rarely seen above ground before early July. By this time, the vegetation around their burrow has grown really tall. Pups are excellent at hiding, and so it can be a challenge to see them when they don’t want to be seen. This litter could have won any game of Hide and Seek!

Vancouver Island marmot pups are born in early June, and so these four pups haven’t quite reached their first birthday. But they have survived their first summer and their first hibernation, which is a really good sign. Keep up the great work, pups!

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Meet This Year’s Field Crew

The Vancouver Island marmot field crew is back and better than ever!

This year’s field crew will be guided by crew leader Mike Lester and
returning crew members Shawn Lukas and Patrick Reid. Over time, we’ve found that the most important qualities for field crew are enthusiasm, tenacity, and a curiosity to learn more. You’ll be happy to know that these three have this in spades!

We are also excited to welcome new crew members to our project. Andrew Horsfield, Hannah Hall, Zachary Palmer, and Trevor Dickinson are the fantastic new talent we brought in to help us achieve our recovery goals this summer. With such a keen group of marmoteers, we know that the Vancouver Island marmot is in good hands this summer!

Check in again for our wild updates.

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It’s spring and we’re off to an early start!

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After a very light winter with almost no snow on many of our lower elevation colonies, the marmots were up early this spring. This was confirmed by one of our returning field crew, who was so excited for another marmot season that he couldn’t quite wait until our official start date on May 1st. According to his report, the marmots were playing, fighting, foraging, and doing all kinds of marmoty activities. It seems that humans weren’t the only animals impatient for spring to start!

Since it is May 1st, we must wish you a very happy Vancouver Island Marmot Day! To celebrate this year’s VI Marmot Day, we are thrilled to have something extra-special to share with you. While working out in the field and conducting inventory at marmot colonies, our field crew have gathered hundreds of hours of video footage of Vancouver Island marmots in the wild…and so we created a YouTube channel so that we can share some of these videos with you! We will post just a few videos at first, but check in with us over the course of the field season, and we’ll post new ones as often as we can. We hope you will enjoy watching them as much as we did.

http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCq9BDTTw9n9_3njOL277VIw

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Comox Valley Visitor’s Centre Features Rarest Marmot In The World!


If you’ve never seen a Vancouver Island marmot here’s your chance.

Just opened, this state of the art Visitor’s Centre will feature interactive alpine, ocean, agricultural and forest related displays including a life-sized marmot burrow

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Recovery Centre Damaged By Extreme Snowload

Damage caused to roof of Mt Washington Marmot Recovery Centre from extreme 2010 snow conditions.

An unusual and extreme snow fall (winter and spring of 2010/2011) caused major damage to the roof of the Tony Barrett Mt Washington Marmot Recovery Centre. The extent of the damage was not cully revealed until the late spring thaw in June.

Fortunately the marmots weren’t disrupted and the structure was safe, so we were able to continue with the summer releases. When the last marmot to be released was out the door, it left us with a very short window of opportunity to replace the roof and finish in time to beat the first snowfall and be ready to receive the marmots scheduled for release in 2012 from our partner breeding facilities.

An enormous gratitude is owed to Chris Erb of SubErb Construction and Greg McCarley of Westwood Metals for doing a remarkable job under such strict timelines. Thank you both for making the welfare of the marmots your highest priority while you carrying out the repairs.

Chris is not a stranger to the marmots or the Recovery Centre. He was in fact the original contractor who built the Recovery Centre in 2000/2001. Thank you Chris! The marmots are forever in your debt.

 

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The Field Team is out at Mount Arrowsmith today. We were scheduled to head out yesterday, but had to delay as result of smoke. The air is somewhat clearer today, but still very hazy. Fortunately, there are no fires near any marmot colonies, but we are constantly reminded of the people and wildlife that are not as fortunate.

On happier note, the Team has located 4 adult marmots and 6 pups in 2 locations on Mount Arrowsmith just this afternoon - great news for us from this colony.

Field Coordinator Mike Lester shares this photo of our field setup this afternoon.
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Here's a fantastic portrait of a pup by John Deal. John is a member of the Vancouver Island Marmot Recovery Team, a group of biologists from government, the private sector, NGOs, and academia that provide guidance and advice on our work to ensure there are more pups like this in the future! ... See MoreSee Less

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