Saturday, July 28, 2007

Marmota marmota

Alpine marmots (Marmota marmota) were introduced into the Pyrenees in the 1940's, and are thriving. We heard plenty of them (very loud high pitched whistles that echo all through the canyons), and got close enough to this guy to take a bunch of pictures. The were the only mammals we saw consistently above treeline, well, besides other hikers and one dog.


Mrs. Sunshine said...

Has the marmot, as an introduced species, caused any ecological disruption in the Pyrenees?

Thermochronic said...

Good question, and in truth I am not sure. Strictly speaking marmots were re-introduced in the 1940's, marmots lived in the Pyrenees in the Pleistocene (last ice age), but went extinct in the Holocene (The last 10,000 years or so) due most likely to the climate changes. There are allegedly lots of fossil sites throughout the range. So, they aren't exactly alien species, but not really native either. I don't think they compete with many other animals at those elevations, and I don't know what their impact on local plant populations is (marmots eat plants and bugs and things). I'm not sure how long a species needs to be absent before they are considered alien when re-introduced? Good question Mrs. Sunshine!

"Ain't From Around Here" said...

"F*@king marmot"

-The Dude

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