B.C.’s own groundhog Van Isle Violet predicts long winter - InfoNews

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B.C.’s own groundhog Van Isle Violet predicts long winter

Van Isle Violet is predicting a long winter for Groundhog Day.
Image Credit: Marmot Recovery Foundation
February 02, 2020 - 2:30 PM

Marmots, groundhogs and whistle pigs are all the same species, and one Vancouver Island marmot is predicting a long winter, says the executive director of the Marmot Recovery Foundation.

Vancouver Island marmots are a critically endangered species, with only about 200 left in the wild.

Located on Mount Washington on Vancouver Island, Van Isle Violet decided to stay nestled in her burrow, buried deep beneath two metres of snow, and three metres of rock and dirt, said Adam Taylor, executive director with the nonprofit.

“We did figure that a Vancouver Island marmot would be a better weather prognosticator for Vancouver Island than some Eastern marmot that has never been west of the Rockies, so we thought it was about time the West got its own prognosticator,” he said.

While it’s a trade secret how the foundation gets an answer from Violet, she is the only marmot in B.C. that is making weather predictions, or at least broadcasting its predictions, he said.

“During the winter time when we check up on them, our veterinarian refers to them as ‘freeze-dried marmots.’ They don’t feel alive and suddenly there will be this great, slow, raspy breath.”

Other Canadian groundhogs are waking up across the country and delivering mixed predictions. Ontario and Quebec groundhogs didn’t see their shadows while one in Nova Scotia did.

“Violet thought she was up to the task. She was willing to deliver us a sleepy message about whether or not she saw her shadow and after weeks and weeks of heavy rain, this is the first sunny day we’ve had in a while so it’s nice to see but unfortunately, it does make for good shadow casting,” Taylor said.

While he said he can’t extend Violet’s prediction for all of B.C., “it’s a lot closer to Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast than Wiarton Willie (who lives in Ontario.)”

- With files from The Canadian Press

 


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