Based on the latest reports, the Pacific fisher, an enigmatic and rare weasel has finally returned to the thick forests of Mount Rainer National Park.
More precisely ten Pacific fishers were released during the most extensive wildlife project to reintroduce this endemic species in areas from where they were previously eliminated. Seventy years ago, this rare weasel disappeared from the forests of the Washington State.
Thanks to the efforts of the American Indian tribes, conservationists, and the Fish and Wildlife officials, these animals are back to their historic range.
Jeffrey Lewis, a Fish and Wildlife biologist, says “we’re correcting something that we mismanaged a long time ago before we knew enough to manage wildlife population.”
He further adds that they know how to act now and that there is a rich habitat in this area, so all they wish is for the fishers to return. This rare weasel was widely spread in hundreds of forests throughout the West Coast.
However, their numbers plummeted two hundred years ago due to habitat loss and trapping. As no one addressed the issue, there were no Pacific fishers left in the Washington state by 1950. This rare weasel is solitary and usually hunts small mammals, such as rodents and snowshoe hares.
The Pacific fisher has been protected by the Endangered Species Act since 1998 when the biologists concluded that the animal was on the verge of extinction. It is worth mentioning that this rare weasel is among the few predators that can hunt porcupines.
The Pacific fishers are currently found just in the North American forests. Although the highest concentrations are in the Midwest and Northeast, only a few were spotted in the Northwest. There are roughly several thousand Pacific Fishers on the West Coast, but they are threatened by illegal pesticides used by marijuana producers.
Fortunately, their population is recovering in Washington state. According to the Hanford McCloud, council member of the Nisqually Tribe, it is their duty to protect and preserve the Pacific fishers because this species is endemic to the American continent.
Around ninety specimens were reintroduced in 2008 in the forests of Washington state as a first step of a nationwide initiative. Since then, the Pacific fishers have been reproducing, and their population increased as well as their geographic range.
Image Source: Wikipedia