GENETIC analyses have confirmed the unique character of Slovakia’s Tatra marmots as distinct from other Alpine marmots (Marmota marmota latirostris). “We can be pleased to say that based on genetic analyses, the sub-species Tatra marmot is unique in the whole world,” Pavol Majko, the head of the Tatras National Park (TANAP) told the SITA newswire. Staff of the Technical University in Zvolen prepared the genetic analysis of the Tatra marmot population which had been requested by TANAP. Majko said that the Tatra marmot is “a close relative” to the Alpine marmot but it is definitely not the same animal.
The first person to describe the uniqueness of the Tatra population of mountain marmots was Josef Kratochvíl in 1961. He based his opinion on the different morphology of skulls. Majko said that these marmots are endemic only to the Tatras, with part of the sub-species also living in the Low Tatras where several animals had previously been moved from the High Tatras.
This new proof that the Tatra marmot is unique is an obligation for Tatra protectionists to preserve this population for future generations. Currently, there are about 800 marmots living on the territory of TANAP and Majko considers this to be very satisfying. Protectionists have been reintroducing the marmots to Belianske Tatry for the past three years and currently about 18 marmots live there. Most of them were brought from the Western Tatras but protectionists hope that this spring will bring more new-born marmots to the locality.
8. Feb 2010 at 0:00 | Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská