For most of the last 75 years, populations of the fisher — a house cat-sized member of the weasel family — have been nonexistent around Washington state due to over-trapping and habitat loss.
But that ‘s changing.
The release of four fishers on Friday, Jan. 10, in the Nisqually Watershed marks the final phase in a program that resulted in the release of more than 250 in the Cascade Range and Olympic Peninsula. It’s the completion of the final phase of their reintroduction in the areas around Mount Rainier National Park, a press release from the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife says.
Since 2008, state, federal and partnering biologists have released 85 fishers in the North Cascades region, 90 in the Olympic Peninsula and 81 in the South Cascades, the press release stated, noting the completion of its reintroduction as a significant step toward recovering the species in Washington state.
“People have been working tirelessly to restore this mysterious and rare carnivore to the Cascades, and now that reintroductions are complete, we think it’s likely that fishers will continue to settle into the recovery areas, find mates and provide the foundation for a large, healthy population in Washington,” said WDFW biologist Jeff Lewis.
The final four fishers were released at the Nisqually Indian Tribe’s Designated Use Area in Mount Rainier National Park, the press release stated.
Fishers released on the peninsula and in the South Cascades originally came from British Columbia, but acquisition shifted toward Alberta during the 2017 wildfire season.
WDFW claims obtaining the fishers from two different sources will boost genetic diversity in the new populations in Washington.
A video on the topic of fisher reintroduction can be found at the following web link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0i-w5koqRuE.