Day 94 of #the100dayproject and my #realandendangered project. Today, I want to highlight the Vancouver Island marmot (which, of course, is endemic to Vancouver Island, part of British Columbia). They are sometimes referred to as Canada's panda since it is one of Canada's wildlife conservation mascots, much like the Giant Panda is in China. Here are a few additional facts: 1. They are a house-cat sized species with a stocky body and a blunt, chubby face with small ears. 2. They hibernate for seven months of the year underground, losing 30 to 50 percent of their body mass in the process. 3. They are the largest sized member of the squirrel family. 4. They tend to inhabit south or west-facing alpine meadows at altitudes of over 1000 meters. 5. They are herbivores, feeding on over 50 plant species.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature currently lists them as "critically endangered." They are regarded as one of the rarest mammals of North America, as less than 100 individuals remain in the wild. They are also the only exclusively Canadian endangered mammal species and one of only five mammals that live nowhere else but Canada. Their largest threat is invasive species, but other primary threats include native predators, ecosystem modification arising from logging activities (especially by clearcutting) and additional habitat loss due to climate change. In addition to IUCN's Red List, they are protected under the United States Endangered Species Act and by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and there are a number of other stakeholders working to save this species. A captive breeding program has been established and is having success at producing a large number of animals for release. However, key marmot colonies need to be protected by designation as Wildlife Management Areas or by landowner agreements. The IUCN also recommends detailed research on dispersal characteristics, hibernacula requirements, and survivorship and reproduction in natural and logging clearcut habitats. #enmlillustration #thesadhappy #digitalart