WATCH: The population of endangered Vancouver Island marmots on Mount Washington has now increased by five. The group captive bred and raised was released today. Skye Ryan joined their caregivers to watch them run free and help the species come back from the brink of extinction.
It was heartwarming scene on Mount Washington released five endangered Vancouver Island marmots to their wild range Wednesday.
It marks the Marmot Recovery Foundation’s 500th release of a captive-bred marmot to the wild.
“This is huge for us,” Cheyney Jackson of the Marmot Recovery Foundation said. “We love to see the marmots returned to where they belong. “
Courtenay-Comox MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard carried one of the marmots to its release.
“People are pretty excited,” Leonard said. “It’s really special to be a part of this.”
An intensive breeding program was undertaken at the Calgary Zoo and Toronto Zoo to bring the species back from the brink of extinction when years ago, the Vancouver Island Marmot hit an all-time low of just 30 in the wild.
Now, there are an estimated 200 marmots roaming the alpine region of Vancouver Island.