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Vancouver Island Marmot Experiences Exceptional Baby Boom of 59 Cubs

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Dec25,2023

La marmot de l’

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A Vancouver Island marmot, named Bluebell, was photographed in 2023. The Vancouver Island marmot is the one of the most endangered species on the planet.

The Canadian Press

The amorous conquests, over long distances, of a tenacious marmot from Vancouver Island could explain how these endangered animals are recovering from near extinction.

Adam Taylor, executive director of the Marmot Recovery Foundation in Nanaimo, British Columbia, says a marmot named Camas traveled 35 km through the mountains and valleys looking for a partner.

There aren't many marmots. It's a fairly small community. So finding a partner can be difficult. He really did whatever it took to find someone, Taylor noted.

Camas was returned to freedom last year, but his trace was lost over the winter. When he reappeared last spring, he was wandering from marmot colony to colony.

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Vancouver Island mamots hibernates from early October until late April. The photo was taken in December 2023.

Adam Taylor relates that he received a phone call from a farmer in a small town called Barrington, informing him that he had a groundhog in his yard. It was indeed Camas, confirms Adam Taylor.

He is a survivor, he undertook this incredible journey, 35 km [in] the mountains, to find the ideal partners, says Mr. Taylor.

The Vancouver Island marmot is one of the most endangered species in Canada. With curved, beaver-like teeth, fluffy chocolate-brown fur and tail, and white spots on the nose, forehead, and chest, these rodents use five distinct whistles or trills, more than any other species marmot.

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In 2003, he Fewer than 30 remained in the wild, but this year's baby boom of 59 cubs brought their population to 306 animals.

The year 2022 was terrible for marmots with only four babies born, recalls Mr. Taylor.

Marmots live about 1000 m above sea level. #x27;altitude and last winter there was a heavy snowpack, with little food available for the animals as they emerged from hibernation, he said.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Last spring's temperatures were more favorable in alpine regions, with a typical snowpack, helping marmots find food as they emerged from hibernation and began to breed, Taylor said. .

Thanks to the new babies, the total population has increased by 50% since the end of last year, when there were 204 marmots , a huge leap, according to Adam Taylor.

AdamTaylor says the Marmot Recovery Foundation's program includes, among other things, distributing extra food, biscuits made from pressed leaves, to females when they come out of hibernation.

The goal is simply to provide these females with a very quick energy boost, so that they start to gain weight immediately and hopefully the, to have more babies.

The foundation began its captive breeding program for wild marmots in 1998. It has facilities at Mount Washington on central Vancouver Island, as well as breeding programs at zoos in Calgary and Toronto.

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In 2023, 14 Vancouver Island marmots, Canada's most endangered mammal, will be born in Calgary Zoo. (File photo)

The program has since released 630 marmots into the wild and each animal is fitted with a transmitter to tell researchers whether they are still alive or hibernating.

Many factors contribute to their declining populations, including habitat loss, climate change, and predators such as cougars and wolves.

Marmots live in mountain meadows. However, according to Adam Taylor, when a colony moves into a logging area, the animals thrive until the trees begin to regrow, leaving them in search of a other house.

He said aerial photos taken of the area in the 1950s and 1970s show many of the historic marmot burrows are now overgrown by the trees.

With less snow, more saplings began to grow in the marmot colonies, and his colonies in response began to shrink, Taylor said.

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This species of marmots only exists in Canada. Its territory is limited to 25 mountains spread across 4 locations on Vancouver Island, indicates the Environment and Climate Change Canada website.

Even if The conservation program has been around for several decades, Taylor says there is still much work to be done.

We're kind of in a race. So the race right now is how quickly we can [increase] the marmot population versus how quickly climate change is affecting their habitat.

According to him, it will undoubtedly be necessary to continually restore their habitat. I think that's simply a fact, says Mr. Taylor.

As for Camas, Mr. Taylor says that he is in a colony where he now seems to have settled with some local marmots.

I hope he found someone special, we'll see what spring has in store for us. We're always trying to improve our marmot matching skills, Taylor concludes.

A text by Nono Shen of The Canadian Press

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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