Marmot program called one of 2007’s top success stories



photo courtesy calgary zoo


The Calgary Zoo was recognized for its Vancouver Island marmot-breeding program in December by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The zoo has successfully helped reintroduce marmots and their pups back into the wildlife after reaching critically low numbers.


A top zoo group has recognized the Calgary Zoo for its Vancouver Island marmot conservation efforts.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) named the Calgary Zoo one of the top 10 success stories for 2007 in December for their marmot-breeding program.

The President and CEO of the Calgary Zoo, Dr. Clement Lanthier, said they are thrilled to be recognized for their efforts in research and restoration of endangered animals.

“Accredited zoos and aquariums are leaders in wildlife conservation efforts and in educating our many visitors. It is gratifying to receive this recognition from the AZA for the work we do,” he said.

The Vancouver Island Marmot is the most endangered animal in Canada and their current wild population was estimated at only 50. Thanks to the successful program at the Calgary Zoo, among others, the population has risen to around 150.

Rick Wenman of the Devonian Wildlife Conservation Centre, where the marmots are hibernating, told Metro this past year was the most successful year on record in terms of breeding and releasing.

“It’s been going really well, as good as can be expected. This was the best year yet and there were a total of 60 animals released back into the wild. We just plan on bringing the numbers back up to acceptable numbers,” Wenman said.

This year the zoo plans on releasing a family of marmots back into the wild, a first for the program.

For more information on the AZA and the report, please visit