Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, November 4, 2022


Justin Augustine, (916) 597-6189,

Pacific Fisher to Gain 41,000 Additional Acres of Protected California Habitat

Expansion Will Cover Additional Area in Yosemite, Kern Plateau

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif.— Following years of efforts by the Center for Biological Diversity and other conservation groups, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed increasing the amount of protected critical habitat for Pacific fishers in the southern Sierra Nevada by 41,041 acres.

This increase affects habitat in Tulare, Kern, Fresno, Madera, Mariposa and Tuolumne counties, in higher elevation areas that weren’t captured by habitat models even though fishers currently occupy the areas.

“This is good news for Pacific fishers, who need every acre of protected habitat they can get,” said Justin Augustine, a senior attorney at the Center. “The old-growth forests needed by the fisher in the southern Sierra are in real trouble in our warming world, so it’s crucial to protect higher elevation areas in Yosemite National Park and elsewhere.”

Relatives of minks and otters, Pacific fishers once roamed forests from British Columbia to Southern California. Intense logging and historical trapping caused their numbers to plummet, leaving only two naturally occurring populations. Only 100 to 500 fishers survive in the southern Sierra Nevada, and another few thousand live in southern Oregon and Northern California. They were recently reintroduced in Washington state.

In May 2020 the Trump administration denied Endangered Species Act protection to Pacific fishers from the central Sierra to the Canadian border but granted them endangered status in the southern Sierra Nevada.

The Center, along with the Environmental Protection Information Center and Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, are currently challenging the denial of protection for fishers in the rest of their West Coast range, where they are threatened by habitat loss due to logging, wildfires, toxic rodenticides used by marijuana growers and other factors.

Pacific fisher. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Image is available for media use.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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