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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Stowaway Marmot Moves Back to Yosemite -- Reluctantly

Posted By on Tue, Jul 8, 2014 at 9:24 AM

click to enlarge Likes to vacation in San Francisco - WILDLIFE EMERGENCY SERVICES
  • Wildlife Emergency Services
  • Likes to vacation in San Francisco

Last week, we told you about another wayward marmot who had hitched a ride to San Francisco making himself right at home in the city's Potrero Hill neighborhood. Wildlife rescuers had big plans to capture the large squirrel and send him back to his rightful home.

According to the Wildlife Emergency Services, Duane, the person commissioned to catch the runaway rodent, headed down to 25th and Rhode Island streets, where a family had reported seeing the marmot camping out in their backyard. He arrived with two cages in the garden, prepared to bait the sneaky critter with a snack plate filled with apples, organic Newman's fig cookies, and some sweet melon.

Here's what happened next:

After setting the traps, the backyard was left undisturbed. Duane and the homeowners watched and waited from inside. While waiting, the family prepared lunch and invited Duane to join them. Just after the meal, the marmot was observed loping (as much as a whistle pig can lope) in the yard, crossing the garden to the plum tree where it snacked on a couple of plums before finding a bit of Fig Newman. Searching for more of the delicious dried fruit cookie, it followed a trail of crumbs that led into the cage trap. Finally, it discovered a whole Fig Newman cookie on the lever, and that was that. Duane had his marmot.

click to enlarge Duane at work - WILDLIFE EMERGENCY SERVICES
  • Wildlife Emergency Services
  • Duane at work

The mini mountaineer was loaded into Duane's rescue truck and was shuttled to the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley where it got a health check. After getting a clean bill of health, he was ready to move back to his hometown of May Lake in Yosemite, just 200 miles east of San Francisco.

Wildlife officials say these marmots are addicted to antifreeze and are known to stowaway inside the guts of the car where they chew away at hoses and sniff out the chemical additive. While they end up in San Francisco, marmots are not equip for urban life -- at all.

click to enlarge Duped by organic fig newtons every time! - WILDLIFE EMERGENCY SERVICES
  • Wildlife Emergency Services
  • Duped by organic fig newtons every time!

Of course, even in a fuel-efficient car, the gas money would be a burden on WES. So to assist in this adventure, San Francisco's Rock Bar hosted a cute fundraiser, selling Marmotinits. A small percentage of the drink money covered the cost of getting the marmot back home.

WES volunteer Sammarye Lewis detailed the journey back to Yosemite on the Wildlife Emergency Services blog:

The animal was confined in a large animal crate with a yummy buffet of carrots, celery, peanuts and blueberries for his breakfast, while traveling back to his home in Yosemite. I could hear Mister Marmot crunching away as we drove in silence (never use any radio when transporting an animal because it can stress them out). I stopped along the way and peeked in the crate. He was burrowed under a bed of pillowcases, snoozing away.

When they finally arrived, getting the marmot to stay proved difficult:

With the mountain and grassy meadow welcoming him back to his home grounds, Mister Marmot, to my great astonishment and dismay, scampered back down the trail toward the parking lot. Dashing by hikers, he ran beside the bathrooms, beside the dumpsters. He ran diagonally across the parking lot and jumped up under a Toyota Prius. Right back where his adventure started three weeks ago. Unbelievable!!! After about an hour, it quieted down, and Mister Marmot cautiously made his way from the Prius, over to a set of dumpsters. I sighed in relief. Finally. I left a note on the hood of the Prius, asking the owners to check under the hood before they leave.

As of yesterday, the marmot was back home basking in the beauty of Yosemite, dreaming of faraway places and Newman's organic fig cookies.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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