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'Six more weeks of winter': Vancouver Island Marmot makes weather prediction on Groundhog Day

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On Thursday, all eyes were on Phil, a famous furry forecaster who made his predictions for the weather in Pennsylvania on Groundhog Day.

Phil seems to think there will be six more weeks of winter, and a furry mascot endemic only to Vancouver Island seems to agree.

Violette is one of 50 Vancouver Island Marmots that are currently in hibernation at the Marmot Recovery Centre on Vancouver Island.

This unique type of marmot is critically endangered, with their numbers dropping to fewer than 30 in the early 2000s.

Their population has since rebounded to more than 250, thanks largely to the efforts of the Marmot Recovery Foundation (MRF).

"What we do during hibernation is actually weigh them to make sure they’re not losing too much weight," said MRF veterinarian Malcolm McAdie.

It was during Violette's weigh-in that her predictions were made.

"Based upon her response while I was weighing her she’s predicted at least six more weeks of winter," said McAdie.

Violette the Vancouver Island Marmot is pictured. (CTV News)The marmots that are currently living at the recovery centre will be released into the wild next year, hopefully making up for a troublesome 2022.

"As you might recall, we had a really late winter last year and when the marmots started emerging from hibernation their food sources were completely covered by snow, so it was difficult for them to find food," said MRF executive director Adam Taylor.

That food scarcity led to fewer births, so researchers helped supplement the marmots' diets in the wild.

"So we have these pressed leaf biscuits that we put out in feeders for the marmots and it does provide them with a fairly nutritional supplementary food," said Taylor.

While the marmots are endangered, researchers say their prognosis is good thanks to financial donations from the public.

"Saving the species has really been made possible by the support of our partners and our donors," said Taylor.

"I mean, this really has been a crowdfunded effort to save the Vancouver Island Marmot from extinction," he said. 

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