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

Victoria Island Marmot (Marmota vancouverensis) is a mammal endemic to Canada, found only on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Unfortunately, it is both the most c

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Victoria Island Marmot (Marmota vancouverensis) is a mammal endemic to Canada, found only on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Unfortunately, it is both the most critically endangered animal in the world and the most endangered mammal in North America. Less than 30 were still living in the wild in 2003.

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The Birth Of Six Marmot Pups At Toronto Zoo Raises Hopes For Endangered Vancouver Island Species 9

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. Even cuter footage of the puppies eating and exploring their box was posted online by the zoo.

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The Birth Of Six Marmot Pups At Toronto Zoo Raises Hopes For Endangered Vancouver Island Species 10

Source: Facebook/ The Toronto Zoo

The Toronto Zoo has seven couples of marmots, but only two of those pairs gave birth to these babies. The zoo announced on April 30 that Oban and Frances, a marmot couple, produced five young. And on May 15, Laura Beth and Mayne welcomed a puppy.

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The Birth Of Six Marmot Pups At Toronto Zoo Raises Hopes For Endangered Vancouver Island Species 11

Source: YouTube/ The Toronto Zoo

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The Birth Of Six Marmot Pups At Toronto Zoo Raises Hopes For Endangered Vancouver Island Species 12

Source: Facebook/ The Toronto Zoo

The zoo explains that young marmots, known as pups, are often born in litters of three to four animals and spend the first two weeks of their existence hiding in the nests that their parents built inside of protected nest boxes.

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The Birth Of Six Marmot Pups At Toronto Zoo Raises Hopes For Endangered Vancouver Island Species 13

Source: YouTube/ The Toronto Zoo

Initially, only three to four weeks after they were laid, carefully trained animal care keepers would uncover their nest boxes. To avoid disturbing the puppies, they take this precaution. To minimize animal-human contact, the marmot pups are housed in a secluded space. This allows them to carry out their natural behaviours without interference such as nesting, digging, gnawing and watching for predators.

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The Birth Of Six Marmot Pups At Toronto Zoo Raises Hopes For Endangered Vancouver Island Species 14

Source: Facebook/ The Toronto Zoo

Since 1997, the Toronto Zoo has participated with the Vancouver Island Marmot conservation breeding program. Over 140 of the 165 pups that have been cared for by the zoo since they were born there have been returned into the wild. The number of marmots in breeding sites across Canada has increased to 200–300 as a result of cautious efforts and a marmot recovery initiative.

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The Birth Of Six Marmot Pups At Toronto Zoo Raises Hopes For Endangered Vancouver Island Species 15

Source: Facebook/ The Toronto Zoo

Watch the video here:



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h/t: cbc.ca