Escape from extinction continues for Canada's most endangered animal - The Vancouver Island Marmot - As record number of litters of new pups born; at least 15 litters in 4 breeding centres across Canada



    VANCOUVER, June 18 /CNW/ - Canada's most endangered animal continues its
successful escape from extinction again in 2007, with a record 15 litters of
new Vancouver Island marmot pups being counted in four breeding centres across
the country.
    The Marmot Recovery Foundation says today that the litters may also
produce a record number of new marmot pups - as many as 60 are possible - but
that it's too early to count them. And Foundation scientific advisor Andrew
Bryant says he's hopeful for a healthy survival rate and new births among the
roughly 55 to 65 marmots remaining in the wild.
    "We're thrilled to have a record number of marmot pup litters because
it's literally a question of life and death for Canada's most endangered
animal," Bryant said. "Without new pups born in our captive breeding program
centres, this species would be headed for extinction."
    Bryant said the Vancouver Island marmot, unique to its natural wild
mountain habitat west of Nanaimo, B.C. and nowhere else, has been making a
steady recovery since almost disappearing just a few years ago.
    "Thanks to huge support for the Vancouver Island marmot from the public,
government and corporate donors, we have a remarkably successful captive
breeding program," Bryant said. "Only four years ago there were less than
100 marmots left in the world but today we believe the total in the wild and
in captivity will probably be between 245 and 265 with the new births. That's
fantastic."
    Malcolm McAdie, the Marmot Recovery Foundation's captive breeding
specialist, said seven releases of marmots back into the wild will take place
at six locations starting in July.
    "All of our success in breeding marmot pups is focused on returning them
to the wild until the day that the species can once again live on its own
without our help," McAdie said. "We are making great progress at restoring a
species that almost disappeared."
    McAdie gave details of the count of at least 15 and possibly 17 marmot
pup litters at the following captive breeding centres:

    
    -   Toronto - 2 to possibly 4 litters
    -   Devonian Wildlife Centre, Calgary - 5 litters (the first litters they
        have had since 2004).
    -   Mountain View Conservation Centre, Langley - 3 litters
    -   Mount Washington - 5 litters
    

    McAdie said the success of the marmot recovery program would not be
possible without a unique partnership between the British Columbia and federal
governments, the forest industry, universities, zoos, a private conservation
centre and over 11,000 individual members of the public who have contributed
to the Marmot Recovery Foundation.





For further information:

For further information: Malcolm McAdie at (250) 714-5955 or Andrew
Bryant at (250) 754-1356 or cell (250) 616-7939 or Victoria Jackson, Marmot
Recovery Foundation Executive Director at (778) 338-3171 or Bill Tieleman,
West Star Communications, at (604) 844-7827 or cell (778) 896-0964. Visit
www.marmots.org for more information

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MARMOT RECOVERY FOUNDATION

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