Marmot may be evicted at Empress
Tuesday, May 18 2010 @ 01:53 PM EDT
Contributed by: jkr
A yellow-bellied marmot stares at a photographer at the Fairmont Empress hotel.
Photograph by: Bruce Stotesbury, Times Colonist
The furry critter first appeared at the Empress a year ago, much to the surprise of both hotel staff and environment ministry officials. It was identified as a member of the yellow-bellied family, native to B.C.’s southeast region, and it’s believed that it somehow hitched a ride here from Grand Forks.
It re-emerged two or three weeks ago, and yesterday was paid a personal visit by B.C. Environment Minister Barry Penner, who used his lunch break at the legislature to search for the animal.
Penner caught two women feeding the marmot Rice Krispie squares.
“I expressed my opinion that Rice Krispie squares would not likely be part of its natural diet,” Penner said. “We then had quite a conversation about marmots.”
Penner said he’s concerned the yellow-bellied marmot might bring with it some sort of disease that could hurt the Vancouver Island and coastal varieties of marmot.
The coastal breed, known as the hoary marmot, is not able to mate with the yellow-bellied marmot, which is technically a ground squirrel.