Trivia question for Feb-04-2011
If you ask Olivia what her favorite endangered species is, she will tell you she does not have a favorite. She loves all animals. But if you look at the various species she picks for our trivia, you kind of get the sense she likes the cute and cuddly ones just a little more than the rest. Anyway, here is her trivia for today:
This particular species is large compared to some of its other cousins, and most other rodents. This species (as a group) are the largest members of the squirrel family, with weights of adults varying from 3 to 7 kg. In general, these guys lose about one-third of their body mass during the six-and-a-half months in which they hibernate during winter.
This particular species remains one of the world’s rarest mammals. In 1997 there were so few numbers of these guys left that managers took the bold step of capturing some to create a “genetic lifeboat” and therefore create the possibility of restoring wild populations.
Clearcutting has provided these mammals with new open areas which constitute habitat. Unfortunately, rapid forest regeneration makes such man-made habitats unsuitable over a few years. Most recent studies have shown the main cause of recent decline to be excessive predation. Major predators in their natural range include Golden eagles, cougars and wolves. So here’s our questions:
Can you tell us what this species is and also tell us which local endangered species legislation classifies them as an Endangered Species?
Good Luck 😉
A special thanks to everyone who sent in guesses. Although this guy does look like a Woodchuck like Natalie suggested, it in fact is a Vancouver Island Marmot. A census in late 2003 resulted in a count of only 21 wild marmots known to be present on Vancouver Island. After these findings, marmots were released from captivity in different places to try to get the population back up to a reasonable number. Today, they are only an estimated 220-240 individuals in the wild.
Despite it’s low numbers, Vancouver Island Marmots along with 1,900 other species in the province, are at risk, mostly because of habitat loss and degradation. And yet, British Columbia, along with Alberta, is one of only two provinces in Canada with no endangered species legislation to protect wildlife at risk. We will be featuring a post and a petition to try and help raise awareness to this issue in the coming days.
Here is more on these rare and cuddly little guys: Vancouver Island Marmot
Thanks for playing along 😉