Marmot not native to Vancouver Island caught underneath Nanaimo shed
The yellow-bellied marmot that was caught in Nanaimo on Sunday. June 13, 2018. (CTV Vancouver Island)
Nikita Ganovicheff, CTV Vancouver Island
Published Wednesday, June 13, 2018 12:16PM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, June 13, 2018 12:28PM PDT
Wildlife control was called to a house in Nanaimo after a homeowner discovered something was eating her daisies and petunias – and it's not from around these parts.
Officers found a yellow-bellied marmot inside the engine bay of a neighbour's truck on Saturday but weren’t able to get it out. They trapped the small mammal underneath a shed the next day.
The yellow-bellied marmot isn’t native to Vancouver Island and will be sent back to the mainland.
Michael Lester, a field coordinator for the Marmot Recovery Foundation, said it’s important to get the marmot back to its home because it could disrupt the ecosystem on the island. Also concerning to Lester is the possible effect the species could have on the endangered Vancouver Island marmot.
“More important for the Vancouver Island marmot, is that we don’t have any other kind of species that might introduce any kinds of disease,” he said. “Say for instance, a new parasite that would be novel for the Vancouver Island marmot would be catastrophic for this very fragile population that we have.”
Lester believes the critter most likely hitched a ride across the water by hiding inside of a truck.
The animal is living at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre and will be returning to its home in the Coquihalla region. Another yellow-bellied marmot, caught in Oak Bay, will be going with it after it recovers from an injury.
A third marmot, Roger, is still at large in Victoria. Lester says Roger can be found near the Empress during the summer but they haven’t seen him this year.
“We’ve had attempts to try and move Roger back to the mainland before but he seems quite elusive,” said Lester with a chuckle.