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Local photographer snaps pic of rare albino marmot

Albino marmot near Chase

A local wildlife photographer was quick on the shutter last week, and snapped a couple of photos of a rare albino marmot.

Bob Bruce was out in the forests between Chase and Pritchard, seeking animals to take photos of, when he spotted a family of deer (two fawns and a mother). After getting the shots, he headed back to his vehicle.

"We got back in vehicle and I looked in mirror," he says.

The mid-sized rodent was on the road behind the vehicle, but quickly dashed up into the rocks before Bruce was sure what he'd seen. He got out and followed, spotting the all-white marmot with pink eyes and getting some shots of it posing on a rock.

"I think it’s a yellow belly," he tells Castanet. "But it’s an albino version."

Albinism is caused by an absence of pigmentation. In mammals, it also results in pink eyes. For mammals it's believed to occur only once in 10,000 births; however, because of its rarity, it's difficult to calculate an exact number, especially for specific species.

"Once I spotted the pink I realized it was albino," Bruce says.

The wildlife photographer says he knows of white-coloured marmots in other parts of the world, but not in B.C. where yellow-bellied marmots are common.

Bruce runs a Facebook page, Bob's Photo, where he shares his photography. He's currently working on photos of a couple of eagle families he's been watching.

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