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Marmots in danger of extinction return to Vancouver Island

Canada’s most endangered mammal is back from the brink of extinction—and offers hope as an “ambassador” for the conservation of less adorable species.

Vancouver Island marmots may just be the antidote required for the dystopian times we are living in.

If you must be trapped inside during this current winter of discontent, alone at a desk, scrolling through hours of video—best it be watching one of the most endearing animals on the planet.

Researchers looking to conserve Canada’s most endangered mammal take advantage of the creature’s seven-month hibernation season to mine footage and field data for more insights that will help the animals survive, said Adam Taylor, executive director of the Vancouver Island Marmot Recovery Foundation.

The process does not get old over time, Taylor said. After years of study, he still gets a kick out of watching the highly social, fuzzy, chocolate brown critters laze on rocks, munch the alpine vegetation, or alternately tussle or boop noses with one another.

“They are entertaining to watch. And there's no doubt about it, they are unbearably cute,” said Taylor.

The biologist describes the marmots as a good “gateway animal” to hook people into caring generally about the conservation of species at risk. “They are really good ambassadors,” Taylor said of this cat-sized member of the squirrel family.

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