The Marmot Recovery Foundation was glad to learn that Molly the marmot gave birth to six pups, but the marmot population is not sustainable, according to conservationists. (Jordan Cormack photo)

Newborn Vancouver Island marmots have conservationists encouraged

Marmot Recovery Foundation in Nanaimo says the species population isn’t yet at sustainable levels

While a marmot recently gave birth to six pups, a conservationist says the endangered species isn’t out of the woods yet.

The Vancouver Island marmot is listed as endangered on the Government of Canada’s species at risk public registry, and while the discovery last month of Molly the marmot and her six newborns in Strathcona Park was good news to Adam Taylor, Marmot Recovery Foundation executive director, he said it isn’t time to celebrate yet.

There are currently an estimated 150 to 200 marmots in the wild, Taylor said, which is in stark contrast to 2004, when the first marmots were released into the wild. Back then, there were an estimated 22 marmots in the wild, according to Taylor.

“It’s certainly recovering,” said Taylor about the population. “Obviously 150 individuals or 200 individuals, that’s not a sustainable population yet, but they’re definitely coming back and it has been largely a success story. A species that was within months to a year of going extinct, it’s not teetering on that edge of extinction any more, but without continued support right now, they’d still get back there.”

RELATED: Marmots released on Mount Washington

Taylor said the animals’ annual mortality exceeds their annual reproduction, unless there is outside support.

“In an ideal world, we’d see between 50, but probably closer to 100 to 200 pups a year being born in the wild,” Taylor said. “So right now, we’re creeping up on that 50 number. Last year, we saw 42, so far this year we’ve seen about 36. We’re likely to see a few more as the season progresses. But we’d certainly like to see that number increase significantly before we start to consider the population stable.”

Among the reasons Taylor speculates for marmot decline are landscape changes – roads have made it easier for predators to get into higher elevations.

Marmots are known to reside in the Nanaimo Lakes region near Nanaimo, B.C., but Taylor said they are not in range of a wildfire currently affecting that area.

He credits TimberWest and Island Timberlands ror assisting in the population increase – numerous marmot colonies are on their land – as they allow access to lands and provide funding.



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Karl on Twitter and Instagram

Just Posted

Four Tofino businesses up for Vancouver Island Excellence Awards

Tofino’s business community is shining with four Vancouver Island Business Excellence Awards… Continue reading

Second fatal crash occurs in Alberni Valley

Traffic on Highway 4 is being re-routed as investigators are en route

Fireworks ignite ire in Ucluelet

“What does it take to actually have your bylaws enforced?”

Ucluelet RCMP urge residents to report suspicious activity to police, not just Facebook

“I definitely would advise people to lock their doors.”

Tofino and Ucluelet’s best sports stories of 2018

The West Coast’s athletes filled 2018 with flair, personal achievements and competitive success.

VIDEO: Car flies across median, flips over edge of B.C. overpass

Dash cam footage shows vehicle speeding across Brunette Avenue overpass in Coquitlam

Razor burn: Gillette ad stirs online uproar

A Gillette ad for men invoking the #MeToo movement is sparking intense online backlash

Feds poised to bolster RCMP accountability with external watchdog

Long-anticipated move is the latest attempt at rebuilding the force following years of sagging morale

Canada needs a digital ID system, bankers association says

The Department of Finance last week officially launched its public consultation on the merits of open banking

Indigenous energy summit includes session on pipeline ownership options

Steven Saddleback of the Indian Resource Council says a session will feature presentations on financing models

Japanese grand champion Kisenosato retires from sumo

The 32-year-old Kisenosato was the first Japanese-born wrestler in 19 years to gain promotion to sumo’s highest rank

UPDATE: Accused B.C. high school killer found fit to stand trial

Gabriel Klein is accused in the 2016 stabbing death of Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary

Right-wing, neo-Nazi, white supremacist groups an increasing concern: Goodale

Ten people died in April 2018 when Alek Minassian allegedly drove a rental van down the busy stretch in Toronto

Canadian stock exchanges to conduct lottery for ‘POT’ ticker amid high demand

The symbol became available after fertilizer Potash Corp. officially merged with Agrium Inc. in early 2018

Most Read