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

Just Posted

Elaine Kirwin in her Expedia Cruises office talks about the future of travel. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Sidney travel agency charts course through pandemic

Owner of Expedia Cruises in Sidney expects smooth sailing ahead once travel restrictions lift

Oak Bay Rotary Club member Lorna Curtis takes over as District Governor of Rotary District 5020 on July 1. (Courtesy Lorna Curtis)
Former Oak Bay recreation director goes international with Rotary

Lorna Curtis takes over as district governor on July 1

Police are asking opponents of logging near Port Renfrew not to involve their children following additional arrests Saturday. (Black Press Media File)
Police arrest eight protesters including two minors near Port Renfrew Saturday

RCMP ask parents not to involve their children in Fairy Creek logging protests

Deep Cove Elementary School principal Shelley Hardcastle (right) and vice-principal Mary Kaercher help to restock Reay Creek with fish – in this case, coho fry – after a recent bleach spill killed hundreds of fish. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich’s Deep Cove Elementary School helps to restock Sidney’s Reay Creek

Restocking followed bleach spill that killed hundreds of fish in creek

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read