Back From The Brink
Vancouver Island marmots have a great comeback story. Until recently, some of the Calgary Zoo’s cutest residents were also among the world’s most endangered. In 2003, only 30 of the marmots remained in the wild. Since then, hundreds have been released back onto Vancouver Island – including close to 100 born at our conservation breeding facility outside the city – and wild populations have increased more than tenfold.
Only a 45-minute drive from the zoo, the Devonian Wildlife Conservation Centre is a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city – and with good reason. Here, peace and quiet are critical ingredients for successfully breeding endangered species for reintroduction into the wild.
While Vancouver Island marmots are hibernating – almost seven months of the year – their hearts beat only three or four times a minute.
At a Glance
4 - 7.5 kg (9 - 16.5 lb.)
Length of 65 - 70 cm (25.6 - 27.6 in.)
Forest openings and alpine meadows
Berries, roots, grasses, flowers and herbs