29 June 2011 Rocky Mountain Fishers Denied Federal Protection Posted by: John Motsinger | 2 comments | Share: Despite serious threats, rare carnivore left to fend for itself BOZEMAN, Mont.— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined today that fishers in Montana and Idaho do not warrant federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. In the western U.S., fishers once roamed throughout the dense forests of the Northern Rockies and from the Pacific Northwest to the southern Sierra Nevada. Today, populations have declined significantly due to historic and ongoing trapping and logging, leaving only tiny, disconnected islands in each region. In 2004, the Fish and Wildlife Service determined the West Coast fisher population warranted protection as a threatened species, but has to date failed to provide those protections. Now the Rocky Mountain fishers have been denied protection altogether. “Today’s decision is a major disappointment. Fishers in the Northern Rockies should at least be on equal footing with fishers in their West Coast range, but neither population can afford to wait for help,” said David Gaillard of Defenders of Wildlife, who drafted the petition to protect the Rocky Mountain population. “The rarest carnivore in the Rockies may just disappear unless we take swift action to prevent any further decline.” “The rarest carnivore in the Rockies may just disappear unless we take swift action to prevent any further decline.” - David Gaillard, Defenders of Wildlife “Fishers are important not only in their own right, as fascinating hunters in our oldest forests, but also as an indicator of those forests where they still survive,” said Gary Macfarlane of Friends of the Clearwater. “When we reduce and fragment our old growth forests from roads, logging and other developments, fishers are among the first animals to disappear.” “Fishers in the northern Rocky Mountains need protection,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species program director for the Center for Biological Diversity. “In the coming weeks we will be taking a close look at what further action is needed to save this important species.” The conservation groups that petitioned the Fish and Wildlife Service to list the Rocky Mountain fisher population include Defenders of Wildlife, Friends of the Clearwater, Friends of the Bitterroot, and Center for Biological Diversity. Background: The fisher, a rare and agile forest hunter prized for its thick, soft fur, is a member of the weasel family similar to otters and minks, and closely related to the marten. Despite their name, fishers do not prey on fish. Fishers live primarily in old-growth forests, where they prey on snowshoe hares and other small mammals and birds and have a remarkable ability to successfully hunt porcupines. In fact, timber companies often value fishers because they can reduce tree damage caused by porcupines. Map of fisher range in the western U.S., past and present: http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/fisher/ Read the USFWS’ finding denying endangered species protections for fishers in the Northern Rockies. 2 Responses to “Rocky Mountain Fishers Denied Federal Protection” Dottie Viar June 30th, 2011 I feel that fishers, wolves and other endangered species should be given protection because they are an important part of our ecosystem. That is the reason that I became a DofW Guardian. In so doing I can now feel good in knowing that I am supporting in a small way all the work that you folks are doing. A little each month amounts up to alot at the end of a year. Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in Safety Pens Mean Peace of Mind in Panther Country For Floridians who live alongside Florida panthers, coexistence means finding ways to protect both their beloved pets and these critically endangered cats. Building an enclosure is a great solution, especially for backyard animals. It’s Time to Act for Right Whales Years after they agreed to expand critical habitat for endangered North Atlantic right whales, we’re still waiting on NMFS to follow through. So we took to the courts to get this much-needed protection in place. How Should We Honor Earth Day? America has many worldwide firsts in conservation: we were the first nation to establish a national park, the first to create a national wildlife refuge, the first to approve a law protecting endangered species and the first to create a national day dedicated to conservation, Earth Day. But today, we are experiencing another period of crisis in America’s commitment to conservation. When did conservation become a polarizing political issue, when it has been, for the past century, a defining characteristic of American values and the American spirit?