Calgary

Calgary Zoo gets nod for preserving rare marmot

The Calgary Zoo has contributed 95 pups to the recovery of the endangered Vancouver Island Marmot.
The Vancouver Island Marmot is one of North America's most endangered mammals. (Calgary Zoo photo)

The Calgary Zoo and Toronto Zoo have been recognized for their role in the preservation of the endangered Vancouver Island Marmot.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums recognized both zoos for their work in helping the endangered animal recover as a result of their captive breeding programs.

The Vancouver Island Marmot is one of North America's most endangered mammals. The Calgary Zoo was also recognized in 2006 for similar work in the recovery of the swift fox.

"We are honoured to receive this award along with our colleagues for our work with the Vancouver Island Marmots," said Dr. Doug Whiteside of the Calgary Zoo. "From 2000 to 2011, the Calgary Zoo has contributed 95 pups to the recovery effort - either for reintroduction to the wild or to bolster the captive breeding population."

The captive breeding program was founded on 55 wild marmots brought into captivity between 1997 and 2004. From a population low of less than 30 the Vancouver Island Marmot population is now at about 300.

In 2003 there were only small pockets of marmots found on three mountains on Vancouver Island.  They can now be found in more than 20 locations on the island.

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