Species: Vancouver Island marmot (Marmota vancouverensis)
Status: Critically Endangered (CR)
Interesting Fact: The Vancouver Island marmot is thought to be one of the rarest mammals in North America, with a wild population of fewer than 100 individuals.
More information: The endemic Vancouver Island marmot is a stocky rodent that has a chestnut-brown pelage with a cream-coloured area around its nose and mouth. As with all marmots, the Vancouver Island marmot lives in family groups that usually contain one male, two females and the juveniles and young produced that year. The families occupy complex underground burrow systems in which they hibernate between the end of September and early May, surviving by using up the fat reserves that are built up throughout the summer.
Logging activities and weather fluctuations within the habitat of the Vancouver Island marmot are thought to have caused population declines. Additionally, the local deer population has recently increased and their presence is known to increase the amount of predators in an area which may also take Vancouver Island marmots.
The Vancouver Island marmot is legally protected through its listing on the British Columbia Wildlife Act. A recovery plan was established in 1988 in an attempt to save this species from the brink of extinction, and a captive breeding programme is now in place, with reintroductions of captive-bred individuals planned for the future.
See images of the Vancouver Island marmot on ARKive
Find out more about Vancouver Island and other islands of the North Pacific
Find out more about other marmot species
Hannah Mulvany, ARKive Content and Outreach Officer