The Vancouver Island Marmot


The Vancouver Island Marmot has chocolate-brown fur and white chest, nose & feet patches. It's the largest member of the squirrel family and can grow to the size of a housecat (5 to 7 kg).

Range & Habitat

The Vancouver Island Marmot lives only in the alpine areas of the mountains on central Vancouver Island. In BC, this animal is found in the Georgia Lowlands Ecoprovince.

Diet & Behaviour

Its favourite food is the flowering parts of alpine plants. They live in open meadows that provide places for burrowing, rock outcrops where they can lookout for food and predators, and other foods like grasses and herbs. The Vancouver Island Marmot hibernates for 7 months during winter in complex burrows. They live in colonies of one or more family groups. Lifecycle & Threats They breed when they turn 4 years old, giving birth to up to 3 pups underground. These pups are born in May and early June and then emerge from their burrows in July. They are threatened by habitat loss (clearcut logging), predators (wolves, cougars), and possible disease outbreaks.

This marmot is found only in the high mountainous regions of Vancouver Island, in British Columbia, the Canadian Species at Risk Act listing it as endangered in May 2000. In 1998, the population reached an all-time low of 75 individuals, a captive breeding programme being started during that time. In captivity, there are around 90 Vancouver Island marmots in four breeding facilities, while an estimated 30 members of this species live in the wild ibn 2004. The ultimate goal is to restore a sustainable population of 400-600 Vancouver Island marmots in the wild, so there’s still much to be done. 2005 was a successful year, with 150 individuals in captivity and over 44 pups born.


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