This project seeks to reintroduce a population of fishers (Martes pennanti) into North Cascades National Park following successful reintroduction programs in Olympic and Mount Rainier National Parks.
We are seeking $80,000 by October 1 to pay for trapping, boarding, and veterinary expertise for 40 fishers.
- The fisher is a medium-sized carnivore, part of the weasel family, and native to Washington State’s temperate forests.
- Fishers were extinct in Washington State due to over-hunting, habitat loss and fragmentation of habitat.
- The first stage of this project released and monitored approximately 80 fishers in the south Cascade ecosystem of Washington (2015-2018). This project is the second stage and will eventually release and monitor 80 fishers in the North Cascades.
- Monitoring and research efforts associated with the project will involve aerial- and ground-telemetry tracking of released fishers to allow park and wildlife officials to monitor their location, survival status, and movements.
WHAT FUNDING WILL PAY FOR
- Procuring the fishers costs about $2,000 per fisher from capture to placement. Trappers are paid cash for each live animal procured. Forty fishers are needed for the scheduled winter release dates.
- This funding will also support an existing facility in central BC which processes the live animals, including health checks, vaccinations, and having veterinarians on duty to monitor the animals daily.
- The project supports the National Park Service mission to preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.
WHAT’S THE URGENCY
The funding is needed to continue an uninterrupted working relationship with the trappers in central BC who supply the program with animals. If the program cannot pay for live fishers, the trappers will either return to lethal trapping (for the fur industry) or permits will be re-allocated for other states’ own fisher reintroduction projects.
WHY DO WE NEED FISHERS IN OUR NATIONAL PARKS?
- Fishers play an important role in ecological function. Because they typically are more abundant than other large carnivores, they have the potential to influence the abundance and distribution of other species through predation and competition.
- Because they prey on many important seed predators in western coniferous forests, they may indirectly shape forest plant communities through their influence on the population dynamics of these species.
- As consumers of vertebrate and invertebrate prey, fishers contribute to nutrient cycling. Fishers may also facilitate the dispersal of seeds, spores, and pollen when transported in their fur.
- Repatriation of the species will contribute toward restoring ecosystem function in the Pacific Northwest. A healthy ecosystem has all its members in attendance.
FISHER PROJECT PARTNERS
- National Park Service and US Forest Service
- Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- British Columbia Ministry of Environment
- Conservation Northwest
- Tribes and First Nations People
- Non-governmental organizations