But as the zoo’s director of conservation and science, Moehrenschlager is ultimately responsible for 13 marmot yearlings that have been released on Vancouver Island in recent weeks as part of an ongoing — and highly successful — captive breeding program.
The cuddly-looking little rock-dweller may inspire bad jokes from writers and delighted squees from casual observers, but saving Canada’s most endangered mammal is serious business.
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And yes, Moehrenschlager is proud of their progress.“I think it is one of the most dramatic recoveries for an endangered species in such a relatively short time anywhere,” he said.
“I think the primary reason why it’s been working well is the level of co-operation between the different agencies.
But what has worked for Vancouver Island’s fuzziest icon in his bid to breed like a rabbit is the help and support of his own personal love doctor, Axel Moehrenschlager.
To be clear, Moehrenschlager is a modest, quiet man, who politely but firmly rejects the love doctor title, and generally leaves the hands-on work with the pint-sized rodents to the other zookeepers and scientists at the Calgary Zoo’s Devonian Wildlife Conservation Centre.
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