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#25 Vancouver Island Marmot

Critically Endangered

How many of these are left depends on where you look. I have seen numbers as low as about 90 to as many as 300. Either way, they are still Canada's most endangered mammal. There is a captive breeding program which has helped. Back in 2007 there were only approximately 30 left in the wild. Marmots are the largest member of the squirrel family. The males weigh around 15 pounds and females 11. That is before hibernation, they can drop to 10 and 6 ½ pounds respectively after hibernating. Pretty impressive diet program! Sadly they are still in danger, but the measures taken to save them have been widely successful and their future is bright. They are one of only 5 mammals endemic to Canada.

Our family used to drive to Canada occasionally, which I loved. I think I was maybe 13 years old when our family and a few other kids from our youth group all went to Northern Canada. We were there to help a first nation school there. We dug a sewage trench, we took the moss insulation from chinks in log cabins and replaced them with modern insulation. Most exciting for me was when the man running the school and I framed a log cabin just the two of us, a chainsaw, and logs. I proved that in spite of mosquitoes that were almost big enough to carry off small children, they don't bite me. One landed on me, walked around, and then flew off while everyone at the same fire was getting bitten left and right. I quickly got out of the lake we visited though after a spider swam toward me. I'm not risking being attacked by swimming spiders!

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