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The Birth Of Six Marmot Pups At Toronto Zoo Raises Hopes For Endangered Vancouver Island Species

Vancouver Island Marmot (Marmota vancouverensis) is a mammal endemic to Canada, found only on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Unfortunately, it is the North America’s most endangered mammal and one of the most critically endangered animals in the world. In 2003, fewer than 30 remained in the wild.

Source: Facebook/ The Toronto Zoo

Recently, animal lovers around the world breathed a sigh of relief after the Toronto Zoo announced the births of the six marmots. The zoo even shared an adorable video of the pups eating and sniffing around their box.

Source: Facebook/ The Toronto Zoo

There are seven pairs of marmots at the Toronto Zoo, but two pairs of them gave birth these pups. On April 30, the zoo confirmed the marmot pair Oban and Frances had five ones. And on May 15, Mayne and Laura Beth had a pup.

Source: YouTube/ The Toronto Zoo

Marmot breeding is usually shortly after hibernation, from March to April. They reside in burrows, and their hibernation periods depend on the area they are in and its weather conditions. Their gestation only lasts for 30 days, and not every pair breeds every year.

Source: Facebook/ The Toronto Zoo

“Baby marmots, called pups, usually come in litters of three to four animals and remain hidden in the nests made by their parents within sheltered nest boxes for the first few weeks of their lives,” the zoo says.

Source: YouTube/ The Toronto Zoo

Initially, specially trained wildlife care keepers did not open their nest boxes until they were three to four weeks. They do that to make sure not to disturb the pups. The marmot pups are being kept in a private area to keep animal-human interaction to a minimum. This allows them to carry out their natural behaviours without interference such as nesting, digging, gnawing and watching for predators.

Source: Facebook/ The Toronto Zoo

The Toronto Zoo has been a part of the conservation breeding program for the Vancouver Island Marmot since 1997. To date, the zoo has cared for 165 pups who were born at the zoo, with over 140 of those released into the wild. Due to conservative efforts and marmot recovery program, the marmots are now present at many breeding centers throughout Canada and now the number has risen to 200-300.

Source: Facebook/ The Toronto Zoo

Watch the video here:

h/t: cbc.ca

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