Yesterday was an exciting day at the Centre, in spite of the mist & fog – first a great nature walk led by expert naturalist Jocie Ingram, and at the end of the day, a very rare sighting! not a Sasquatch, but the next best thing….
A Vancouver Island Marmot!
Just down the road from the Paradise Meadows trailhead, this furry bundle popped out from among the roadside rocks.
We could hear squeaking from the other side of the road up the hill – probably another marmot communicating with this one.
The Vancouver Island Marmot is one of the world’s rarest mammals, found only on Vancouver Island. The wild population is estimated at 400 in 2013, up from only 21 in 2003. With the aid of a captive breeding program, including a Recovery Centre at Mt. Washington, marmots have been released to several locations on Vancouver Island including Strathcona Park.
Since this marmot had no ear tag, it might have been one of the 75-80 marmots born in the wild last year, rather than one that was captive-born. Observations of marmots can be reported to the Marmot Recovery Foundation.
By the way, take care when driving up the mountain – this marmot had just run across the road, not even using one of the ‘Marmot Crossing’ signposts!