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An The Vancouver Island Marmot Is The Species In Question.

873 words - 3 pages

Each year more and more organisms are added to the endangered and extinct species lists. As humans, we expand our urban area and are decimating our resources. We have a much greater impact on the world than we seem to, or care to realize. One of the animals on the list of endangered species is the Vancouver Island marmot.The Vancouver Island marmot is one of the rarest mammals in the world. There are less than 100 individuals of this species left both in captivity and in the wild (Bryant 2001). They only exist in the wild on Vancouver Island, B.C. in mountain meadows and clear-cut regions (Bryant 2001). Vancouver Island marmots are very socially interactive animals. They communicate with other marmots by physical contact and with vocalizations (Bryant 1990). Their most frequent vocal call is a high-pitched whistle, which warns other animals in the area of danger (Bryant 1990). The Vancouver Island marmot will choose an area for their burrow which has large rocks to use for both a lookout post to watch out for dangers and to regulate their internal temperature. (Janz 1989).The Vancouver Island marmot live in colonies composed of one or more families (Bryant 1990). Families of marmots usually contain an adult male, one or more adult females and a number of younger marmots that are the offspring of the adult male, yearlings (Bryant 1990). Mating occurs below ground in the first few weeks after the animals emerge from their period of hibernation. (Janz 1989). The average gestation is about 30 days and young are born in late May or early June (Janz 1989). Litters of 3 or 4 offspring were most common. Females mostly do not breed until they reach 4 or 5 years of age, marmots can live as long as 10 years (Bryant 1990). Vancouver Island marmots begin to hibernate during mid-September and come out of their hibernation around late April or early May. Vancouver Island marmot pups remain near the burrow in which they were born for their first year and hibernate with their mother (Bryant 2001). Year-old marmots usually venture to go farther from where they were born and expand their movements but almost always return to hibernate with their mother for their second year. Marmots usually leave their home burrow in search of a new territory after their second or third year.During the 1980's the marmot's population was over 300 but quickly dropped after clear cutting was banned (Bryant 2001). The factor that has the largest impact on the marmot's population are trends in clear-cutting forests. The problem was that the marmots normally lived in mountain meadows but would expand into the clear-cut forests. Once the trees would start to grow...

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