More fishers released in the North Cascades!
Fisher release! In the winter of 2019-2020, approximately 50 fishers are expected to be released in North Cascades National Park and Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, and last week, partners in the project released eight more into the Suiattle River drainage. The four female and four male fishers were captured in Alberta, Canada as part of a multi-year project to reintroduce around 80 fishers to the North Cascades. They are equipped with radio transmitters to track their movements and population recovery over time.
Fishers are a house cat-sized member of the weasel family. They were eliminated from Washington by the mid-1900s as a result of over-trapping and habitat loss. They are listed as an endangered species by the state of Washington,
Institute staffer Jason Ruvelson was lucky to be on hand for this historical event and shares these inspiring photos. (Find more of his work at http://jasru.com).
Background on the Fisher Reintroduction Initiative:
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), National Park Service (NPS), Conservation Northwest (CNW), Calgary Zoo, and our partners are pleased to inform you that we are moving forward with the second year of a multi-year fisher reintroduction project on federal lands in the North Cascade Mountain Range in Washington. During the winter of 2018-19, the first 26 fishers were released in North Cascades National Park Service Complex and Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Ten more fishers were released in October 2019.
Fishers are a mid-sized member of the weasel family that once occurred in the forested ecosystems of Washington; however they disappeared from Washington State by the early to mid-1900s, largely as a result of over-trapping, incidental mortality and habitat loss.
To recover fishers in Washington, WDFW, NPS, CNW and other partners reintroduced 90 fishers from British Columbia to Olympic National Park in western Washington from 2008 to 2010, and another 73 fishers to Mount Rainier National Park and Gifford Pinchot National Forest from 2015 to 2018. These reintroductions and reestablishment of fishers on the Olympic Peninsula and in the South Cascades were the first steps for fisher recovery as outlined by the Washington State fisher recovery plan.
The third phase of fisher recovery in Washington involves the reintroduction of fishers to the North Cascade Mountain Range in Washington. This reintroduction effort, also led by WDFW, NPS, CNW, Calgary Zoo, and other partners, will reintroduce approximately 80 fishers into the North Cascades.
A diverse group of partners came together to make fisher restoration possible. In addition to WDFW, NPS, and CNW, Calgary Zoo, US Fish and Wildlife Service, the US Forest Service, Washington’s National Parks Fund, Defenders of Wildlife, and the US Geological Survey are also supporting the reintroduction project, including the monitoring and research efforts that occur once fishers are released.