Since 1985, faunal remains of the Vancouver Island marmot have been
discovered in four high elevation cave sites: Clayoquot Plateau, Mariner
Mountain, Limestone Mountain, and the Golden Hinde. Two sites are in
Strathcona Provincial Park and a third is in Clayoquot Plateau Provincial
Park. Cut marks on bones and artifacts recovered in Marine Mountain
cave indicate that the remains are the result of human hunting.
Radiocarbon dating revealed that these sites are prehistoric ranging
from 830-2630 years ago.
The faunal remains provide additional evidence for a range decline in the Vancouver Island marmot. No marmots live in the vicinity of the cave sites today and three sites are
peripheral to the present range. Although black bear, black-tailed deer,
marten, and red squirrel are represented in the faunal remains, the
predominance of Vancouver Island marmots suggests that aboriginal
peoples traveled to these remote mountainous areas to hunt marmots.
We summarize the analysis of faunal remains and review the
implications for Vancouver Island marmot biogeography and
conservation, and aboriginal cultural history. Recommendations for
future research in BC Parks and managing these cave sites are