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Marmot hitchhikes to Canada, then catches a cargo flight home to Colorado

The Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Longmont says drivers visiting the mountains should be aware of marmots stowing away in their cars.

LONGMONT, Colo. — Back in May, a Toronto family got quite the surprise when they found a marmot in their RV after driving home from their Aspen, Colorado vacation.

"And it somehow made its way, five days, however long their trip was, all the way to Canada," said Mysti Tatro, the Community Relations Coordinator at the Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Longmont.

Since 2008, Tatro said, they've gotten 23 marmots, and most of them were what they call "hitchhikers." 

Marmots like to cuddle up to warm motors on vehicles. Then they end up far from home when the visitors drive away.

When this particular marmot was found, the Toronto Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre was contacted, and they reached out to Tatro's organization. 

“There are no endemic yellow-bellied marmots in Canada, so we really needed to make sure she got back to Colorado," Tatro said.

Credit: Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center
The marmot after it's flight home to Colorado

It took a couple of months to coordinate with national and international agencies, but on Friday, the marmot flew to Denver in a Delta cargo plane. 

“I think that’s one of our furthest hitchhikers, I would say," Tatro said. "We haven’t had one have to ride a plane home." 

Tatro picked her up at the airport and drove her to Silverthorne, where another wildlife foundation picked her up to eventually bring her home to release her back into the wild. 

“Feels kind of weird saying I went to the airport to pick up a marmot," Tatro said. "Who gets to say that? That’s really weird."

It's a fun story to tell, but for Tatro it's also a reminder for drivers to double-check their cars in the mountains before they accidentally bring a marmot far from home.

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