The Calgary Zoo is aiding in recovery efforts for the Vancouver Island marmot, an endangered species. Pictured here, a marmot at Mount Washington. (Black Press file)

The Calgary Zoo is aiding in recovery efforts for the Vancouver Island marmot, an endangered species. Pictured here, a marmot at Mount Washington. (Black Press file)

Vancouver Island marmot population gets boost with help from Calgary Zoo

Seventeen pups to spend winter at Mount Washington recovery centre before being released next spring

The Vancouver Island marmot population will get a boost thanks to assistance from the Calgary Zoo.

The marmots are listed as endangered on the Government of Canada’s species at risk public registry, but according to a press release, 17 marmot pups have been born at the Calgary Zoo’s Devonian Wildlife Conservation Centre this year.

The pups are under the watch of the zoo animal care team and will be transferred to Tony Barrett Mount Washington Recovery Centre, where they will spend the winter, said the press release, and are expected to be released in spring 2021.

The Calgary Zoo is also working with partners on an experiment that introduces supplemental feeding to improve body condition and potentially boost wild reproduction, said the press release. Marmots that hibernate with good body condition have a better chance at surviving the winter and conceiving pups in the spring, the release said.

Research teams from the zoo are in their third year of research and gathering data on rocky slope environments to obtain marmot body weights to investigate whether this could be utilized in conservation efforts.

Adam Taylor, executive director of the Marmot Recovery Foundation on Vancouver Island, said work that Calgary and Toronto zoos are undertaking is crucial to marmot recovery.

“Supplemental feeding was something that we started doing six or seven years ago and we had a few goals behind it. The big one was we wanted to monitor some of these remote sites that we can’t get access to very often … one of the things that we noticed was that at the sites where they had the supplemental food, it really felt to us like they were producing more pups than we would’ve normally expected and so that’s when we got the Calgary Zoo involved,” said Taylor.

RELATED: Two endangered marmots released on Vancouver Island

He said it’s been a collaborative effort over the past two years.

“Any tool that we can get that helps this population recover faster is just tremendous,” said Taylor. “We need to know that we’re having a positive impact. That’s really the big underlying question.”

There were an estimated 200 marmots on the Island at the end of 2019, said Taylor, with nine marmots being released on Mount Washington within the last two weeks.

According to the Government of Canada, the Vancouver Island marmot was originally designated as endangered in 1978, a status re-confirmed in 1997, 2000, 2008 and 2019.



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Karl on Twitter and Instagram

Endangered Species

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Local cyclist Max McCulloch catches air off a jump in the newly redesigned Organ Donor trail at Mount Work mountain biking park. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Mountain bikers lining up for Hartland’s newest trail

Revamped black diamond run ‘what the community needed’

The Maritime Museum of British Columbia’s Float the Boat fundraiser campaign is underway. The goal is to raise $25,000 in donations to help with the cost of running virtual programs and onsite operations. (Courtesy Maritime Museum of B.C.)
Maritime Museum of B.C. looks to Float the Boat in Victoria

Fundraiser proceeds will support multitude of virtual programs and onsite operations

Snow is sticking to the ground on Malahat Drive at Shawnigan Lake Road. (Drive BC)
Snowfall warning issued for Malahat

10 centimetres of snow expected between Goldstream and Mill Bay

Keygan Power with brother Quintin and mom Allison while camping the weekend before Keygan’s brain hemorrhage on Aug. 2, 2020. (Photo Allison Power)
Saanich teen ‘locked inside,’ regaining speech after severe brain hemorrhage

16-year-old suffers traumatic loss of function, still plays a mean game of chess

(Twitter/Ateachersaurus)
The Pachena Bay shoreline in 2013. (Twitter/Ateachersaurus)
This week in history: 9.0 magnitude quake struck under what is now called Vancouver Island

According to First Nations elders, the 9.0-magnitude quake in 1700 CE kick-started a tsunami

The Pacific Rim Whale Festival is breaching for a COVID-safe return in March. (Poster photo by Owen Crosby)
Pacific Rim Whale Festival aims for virtual return in March

Educational celebration scheduled to arrive in Tofino-Ucluelet on March 15.

In this undated image made from a video taken by the Duke of Sussex and posted on @SaveChildrenUK by the Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, shows the Duchess of Sussex reading the book “Duck! Rabbit!” to their son Archie who celebrates his first birthday on Wednesday May 6, 2020. The Canadian Paediatric Society is reminding families that the process of raising a reader starts from birth. (Duke of Sussex/@SaveChildrenUK)
Canadian Paediatric Society says raising a reader starts from birth

CPS says literacy is one of the strongest predictors of lifelong health outcomes

Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Minister Carla Qualtrough responds to a question during a news conference Thursday August 20, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Easing rules for parental benefits created inequities among parents, documents say

Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough’s office says the government will make any necessary changes

People walk along a pedestrianized zone of Sainte-Catherine street in Montreal, Monday, May 18, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. Newly released statistics point to a major drop in police-recorded crime during the first eight months of the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Crime down in first 8 months of pandemic, but mental health calls rise: StatCan

The agency says violent crimes such as assault dropped significantly

Cash and drugs allegedly found in a suspect’s possession following an arrest earlier this month in downtown Nanaimo. (Photo submitted)
Accused drug dealer arrested in Nanaimo carrying $20K, fentanyl, crack and meth

Terrance Virus, 39, being held in custody, scheduled to appear in court Feb. 1

(Pixabay)
B.C. teacher gets 1 day suspension after ‘aggressively’ throwing dumbbell at student

Documents show the weight would have hit the student if they didn’t catch it

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which cause COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
B.C. ramping up screening for faster-spreading COVID-19 ‘variants of concern’

B.C. has sequenced about 11,000 COVID-positive samples since last February

Shown is Quality Foods at 319 Island Highway in Parksville. The Island-based grocery chain announced on Jan. 25 it made a $2-per-hour pay premium, implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, permanent. (Mandy Moraes photo)
COVID-19: Quality Foods makes $2-per-hour employee pay premium permanent

Island-based grocery chain had extended increase twice in 2020

Most Read