Michael, Huchins, ed. Photo courtesy of the Marmot Recovery Foundation Like all marmots, Vancouver Island marmots live in burrows and are obligate herbivores. Thanks to the work of conservationists, Vancouver Island marmots, a chunky relative of the common squirrel, have seen their numbers grow from barely two dozen to nearly 200. There are two distinct marmot populations on Vancouver Island. 16 vols. In 2009, Nagorsen and Cardini identified, from museum specimens, substantial physical differences between species that can only be explained by rapid evolution in a relatively isolated island context. The Vancouver Island marmot is closely related to the hoary marmot but is only found in the small pockets of mountainous areas on Vancouver Island. The Vancouver Island Marmot is one of only 5 mammal species endemic to Canada. Your gifts make it possible to save this species from extinction! 754–818. The last two years have resulted in a combined population of more than 100 pups born in the wild, he said. In general, marmots lose about one-third of their body mass during the six-and-a-half months in which they hibernate during winter. The Vancouver Island marmot population will get a boost thanks to assistance from the Calgary Zoo. Washington, Vancouver Island to further facilitate captive breeding and pre release conditioning. The Vancouver Island marmot is endemic to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.Vancouver Island marmots apparently suffered a severe range contraction over the last several decades, although records are insufficient to elucidate when or why this occurred. One study concluded that clearcuts therefore act as a kind of population "sink" in which long-term reproduction and survival rates are reduced to the point of unsustainability[16] One 2005 study concluded the main cause of recent decline to be predation "associated with forestry and altered predator abundance and hunting patterns". [citation needed], Like all marmots, Vancouver Island marmots live in burrows and are obligate herbivores. It may help recovery efforts. Size: Vancouver Island is about 460km long and 100km wide, with around 32,134km2 total area. Email. Tell us! Gestation is thought to be approximately 30–35 days. On the southern and eastern portions of the island, this is characterized by Douglas fir, western red cedar, arbutus (or madrone), Garry oak, salal, Oregon grape, and manzanita; moreover, Vancouver Island is the location where the Douglas fir was first recorded by Archibald Menzies. [22], The population crash may also be due to the Allee effect, named after zoologist Warder Clyde Allee. From a low of 30 wild marmots (Marmota vancouverensis) occupying just a few locations in 2003, they have increased to about 200 spread out across 20 Vancouver Island mountains, thanks to a successful captive breeding and release program. Number of Cities: About fifty towns and cities are on Vancouver Island. Because of their endangered status, Vancouver Island marmots have become a conservation symbol in British Columbia. Vancouver Island marmots (Bryant 1996a). A number of individuals have been released to Strathcona Provincial Park, Mount Cain, Mount Washington and more southern mountains. They generally hibernate for shorter periods in captivity.[15]. The Vancouver Island Marmot is a remarkable animal. Causes of marmot population declines are numerous. [8] The Vancouver Island marmot, as its name suggests, is geographically restricted to Vancouver Island, and apparently evolved rapidly since retreat of the Cordilleran glaciation some 10,000 years before present. A census in late 2003 resulted in a count of only 21 wild marmots known to be present on Vancouver Island. The differences in DNA observed between species is small. Wild Vancouver Island marmots hibernate, on average, for about 210 days of the year, generally from late September or … Saving a species from extinction. The fundamental idea was to produce marmots in a fashion that would facilitate their eventual return to the wild. [21] Major predators upon Vancouver Island marmots include golden eagles, cougars and wolves. Thanks to recent recovery efforts, the population has increased from a low count in 2003 of less than 30 wild marmots living in a handful of colonies to just over 200 marmots on over more than 20 mountains in … Most marmots live above 1000 metres elevation in meadows that face south to west. Canadian Field-Naturalist. 2005. The Vancouver Island marmot (Marmota vancouverensis) naturally occurs only in the high mountains of Vancouver Island, in the British Columbia.This particular marmot species is large compared to some other marmots, and most other rodents. Vancouver Island marmots have been documented to eat over 30 species of food plants, generally shifting from grasses in the early spring to plants such as lupines in late summer. The Vancouver Island Marmot is a remarkable animal. [9] Marmota vancouverensis is distinct from other marmot species in terms of morphology,[10] genetics,[11] behaviour,[12] and ecology. The Vancouver Island marmot is considered one of the rarest animals in North America and their wild population numbered fewer than 30 in 2001. No other marmot species naturally occurs on Vancouver Island. Hopefully the conservation efforts will succeed. Allee proposed that social animals require a critical mass in order to survive, because survival requires group activities such as warning of predators and migration. A small group of about 12 to 16 animals are kept in Clayoquot Provincial Park as insurance in … Breeding and reintroduction programs have given this species a fighting chance, it to. Distinct marmot populations on Vancouver Island marmot is only found on Vancouver Island marmot translocation,. Species is now restricted to a reasonable number given this species a fighting chance, it continues to on... No other marmot species naturally occurs only in the high mountains of Vancouver,!: as of 2011, just under 760,000 people lived on the brink of.! 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