Wolf Haven International

Mazama Pocket Gopher

Wolf Haven
Mike Walker from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife works very hard to relocate these state threatened gophers to Wolf Haven's prairie.

Wolf Haven International is a relocation site for the state threatened Mazama pocket gopher. Since 2005, over 270 pocket gophers have been relocated to Wolf Haven's prairie from development sites, with a survival rate of roughly 30% to date. These were acquired from six different development sites in the Tumwater area. In Fall 2007, reproduction of some of the original relocated pocket gophers was confirmed, indicating that a number of gophers made Wolf Haven their new home. The most recent transfer consisted of thirty pocket gophers that were relocated to Wolf Haven in August 2010.

The Mazama pocket gopher is indigenous to western Washington and its scientific name of Thomomys is derived from the Greek thomos, meaning "a heap" in reference to a mound of earth.

The pocket gopher's diet consists of roots and bulbs, and they are known to pull entire plants into their tunnels making the prairie an ideal habitat. The pocket gopher's place in the food chain is near the bottom, providing food for snakes, hawks, owls, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, badgers, and skunks.

The Mazama pocket gopher has been a candidate for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act since 2002 but is still waiting, which has put it at risk for local extinction. Habitat loss due to development, succession, and agriculture continues to jeopardize the recovery of the pocket gopher.

 

Wolf Haven
Lindsay Baris a former Americorp volunteer for The Nature Conservancy is trying hard to pit tag this Mazama Pocket Gopher. The pit tags are the size of a piece and rice and are injected using a 14 gauge needle. These tags help track the gophers.

 

Visit The Nature Conservancy's website for more information on the recovery of the Mazama pocket gopher. A video on this page even shows a Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife biologist tagging a pocket gopher on Wolf Haven's prairie.

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