Getting Back to Normal: Space Use and Behaviour of Reintroduced and Wild Vancouver Island Marmots

Posted on Dec 5, 2017


by Jeffery R. WERNER

Correspondence: Department of Zoology, The University of British Columbia, 6270 University Boulevard, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6T 1Z4, Canada.



I report on initial conservation efforts to reintroduce captive-reared Vancouver Island marmots (Marmota vancouverensis) into historical natural habitat. The home range size, movements, time allocation, and behaviour of 25 reintroduced and 30 wild free-living Vancouver Island marmots were studied over 3 active seasons (May through October 2003-2005) to assess the performance and challenges influencing survival of reintroduced animals. Activity budgets, frequency of vigilance, and ranging behaviour of wild and reintroduced marmots were generally similar. Poor survival of reintroduced marmots appears to be associated with low site fidelity. It remains unclear whether experiences during captive-rearing encourages individuals to seek out inappropriate habitats, or whether stress induced during transport and release into unfamiliar environments precipitates long distance movements.

Key Words: Endangered Species, Flight Distance, Immergence Distance, Marmot Behaviour, Population Recovery, Time Allocation.



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