Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, January 12, 2017

Contact: Andrea Santarsiere, (303) 854-7748,

Rare Forest Carnivore on Track for Endangered Species Protection

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Status Review for Northern Rockies Fisher

HELENA, Mont.— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced it is considering protecting Northern Rockies fishers under the Endangered Species Act. Fishers once inhabited old-growth forests in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Utah, but the species was nearly extirpated in the 1920s. Now fishers only survive along the border of northern Idaho and Montana. Trapping and habitat degradation continue to threaten the remaining population.

The Fish and Wildlife Service is soliciting information from the public regarding threats to, and the status of, the species.

“Northern Rockies fishers desperately need protection under the Endangered Species Act to limit continued threats to their survival, including logging and trapping,” said Andrea Santarsiere, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “We're hopeful the Fish and Wildlife Service will choose to protect fishers and give the species a fighting chance at recovery.”

The Center petitioned for fisher protections in 2013, but the Service is more than two years late in making a decision on the imperiled carnivore's protection. In January 2016 the Service issued a positive “90-day finding” on the petition and is currently conducting a review of the animal's status to determine if federal protection is warranted. A recent settlement agreement between the Center and the agency ensures the Service will continue its review and issue a final decision by Sept. 30. This interim status review is aimed at furthering that review process.

Fishers are cat-like, medium-sized members of the weasel family with slender, brown bodies and long, bushy tails. They are still legally trapped in Montana. Fishers are also severely threatened by incidental trapping in Idaho and Montana. As trapping for wolves, bobcats and other species has increased in Idaho and Montana, so have levels of “incidental” trapping of fishers. Reported nontarget catch of fishers by individual fur-takers in Idaho from the 2010-2011 season through the 2014-2015 season have totaled 159 fishers, 66 of which have been killed.

The comment period announced for the status review is 30 days, with comments due Feb. 12.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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