Pekania pennanti - (Erxleben, 1777)
Fisher
Other English Common Names: fisher
Synonym(s): Martes pennanti (Erxleben, 1777)
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Martes pennanti (Erxleben, 1777) (TSN 180560)
French Common Names: pékan
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.103714
Element Code: AMAJF01020
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Mammals - Carnivores
Image 10865

© Michael Patrikeev

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Mammalia Carnivora Mustelidae Pekania
Genus Size: A - Monotypic genus
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder (editors). 1993. Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Second edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. xviii + 1206 pp. Available online at: http://www.nmnh.si.edu/msw/.
Concept Reference Code: B93WIL01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Martes pennanti
Taxonomic Comments: Nominal subspecies are questionable, but population subdivision is occurring within the species (Drew et al. 2003). Genetic data suggest that gene flow once occurred between fisher populations in British Columbia and those in the Pacific states, but extant populations in those areas are now genetically isolated due to extirpation of fishers in Washington and northern Oregon (Drew et al. 2003). The extant populations in California and Oregon are both discrete and biologically significant and thus qualify as a distinct population segment.

"Multiple lines of paleontological and genetic evidence suggest that the fisher recently (<5,000 years ago) expanded into the mountain forests of the Pacific coast. The reduced dimensionality of the distribution of the fisher in western coastal forests appears to have contributed to the high levels of structure and decreasing diversity from north to south. These effects were likely exacerbated by human-caused changes to the environment. The low genetic diversity and high genetic structure of populations in the southern Sierra Nevada suggest that populations in this part of the geographic range are vulnerable to extinction." [from Wisely et al. 2004]

Stone and Cook (2002) placed the fisher in the subgenus Pekania and suggested that M. pennanti and Gulo gulo may form a monophyletic group, which would make Martes paraphyletic. Sato et al. (2012) used mitochondrial and nuclear DNA to examine the phylogeography of Musteloidea and also concluded that pennanti does not belong in the genus Martes; they proposed that fishers be included in the genus Pekania.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 04Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 25Sep1997
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Large range in northern North America; extirpation from southern portion of range, due mainly to habitat loss, has been counteracted by recent natural and human-aided range expansions in the eastern U.S.; adequate population data are unavailable for much of the range, but the species currently is regarded as secure. See also information on the West Coast Distinct Population Segment.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Sep1996)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (30Dec2011)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States California (S2S3), Connecticut (S2), Idaho (S1), Illinois (SX), Indiana (SX), Iowa (SX), Maine (S5), Maryland (S3S4), Massachusetts (S4), Michigan (S4), Minnesota (SNR), Montana (S3), New Hampshire (S5), New Jersey (SNR), New York (S4), North Carolina (SX), North Dakota (S2), Ohio (SX), Oregon (S2), Pennsylvania (S2S4), Rhode Island (S1), Tennessee (SU), Vermont (S5), Virginia (S1), Washington (SH), West Virginia (S3), Wisconsin (S5), Wyoming (S1)
Canada Alberta (S3S4), British Columbia (S2S3), Manitoba (S5), New Brunswick (S5), Northwest Territories (S3), Nova Scotia (S2), Nunavut (SNR), Ontario (S5), Quebec (S5), Saskatchewan (S4S5), Yukon Territory (S2S4)

Other Statuses

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R8 - California-Nevada
IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Fishers range from Quebec, the Maritime Provinces, and New England west across boreal Canada to southeastern Alaska, south in the western mountains to Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and California, and formerly south to Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Recently the species has expanded its range in the eastern United States, and it has been reintroduced in areas from which it was extirpated, including West Virginia, with some of the latter individuals wandering into Virginia (Handley 1991). The species is relatively abundant in the eastern provinces of Canada, with low populations in British Columbia (USFWS, Federal Register, 1 March 1996).

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
Number of Occurrences Comments: In the absence of good occurrence specifications and adequate population data, an estimate of the number of occurrences is not possible. But surely there are hundreds of fairly distinct populations.

Population Size: 10,000 to >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total population size is unknown but probably is at least in the low hundreds of thousands; for example, the harvest in North America during the 1983-1984 trapping season was about 20,000 (Novak et al. 1987), and the average in the 1960s and 1970s was about 13,000 (Strickland et al. 1982).

Overall Threat Impact: Medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: The fisher's range was reduced dramatically in the 1800s and early 1900s through overtrapping, predator and pest control, and alterations of forested habitats by logging, fire, and farming (Douglas and Strickland 1987, Powell 1993, Powell and Zielinski 1994, Lewis and Stinson 1998). Since the 1950s, fishers have recovered in some of the central and eastern portions of their historic range in the United States as a result of trapping closures, changes in forested habitats (e.g., forest regrowth in abandoned farmland), and reintroductions (Brander and Books 1973, Powell and Zielinski 1994). However, fishers are still absent from their former range southeast of the Great Lakes (Gibilisco 1994). [from USFWS 2004]

The extent of past timber harvest is one of the primary causes of fisher decline across the United States (Powell 1993), and it may be one of the main reasons fishers have not recovered in Washington, Oregon, and portions of California as compared to the northeastern United States (Aubry and Houston 1992, Powell and Zielinski 1994, Lewis and Stinson 1998, Truex et al. 1998). Timber harvest can fragment fisher habitat, reduce it in size, or change the forest structure to be unsuitable for fishers. Habitat loss and fragmentation appear to be significant threats to the fisher. Forested habitat in the Pacific coast region decreased by about 8.5 million ac (34,400 sq km) between 1953 and 1997 (Smith et al. 2001). Forest cover in the Pacific coast is projected to continue to decrease through 2050, with timberland area projected to be about 6 percent smaller in 2050 than in 1997 (Alig et al. 2003). Thus fisher habitat is projected to decline in Washington, Oregon, and California in the foreseeable future. [from USFWS 2004, which see for further details]

Although exact numbers are unknown, trapping caused a severe decline in fisher populations. Aubry and Lewis (2003) state that overtrapping appears to have been the primary initial cause of fisher population losses in southwestern Oregon. The high value of the skins, the ease of trapping fishers (Powell 1993), year-round accessibility in the low to mid-elevation coniferous forests, and the lack of trapping regulations resulted in heavy trapping pressure on fishers in the late 1800s and early 1900s (Aubry and Lewis 2003). [from USFWS 2004]

See also threats information for the West Coast Distinct Population Segment.

Short-term Trend: Unknown

Long-term Trend:  
Long-term Trend Comments: Declined in the southern part of the range due to overtrapping and habitat loss (logging). Extirpated from all but the far northern Appalachians by 1900 (Handley 1991). Natural reestablishment and reintroductions have successfully brought the species back in many northern U.S. areas. Populations in the Rocky Mountains may be more stable than those in the Pacific states (USFWS, Federal Register, 1 March 1996). Fishers apparently have been extirpated in the northern Sierra Nevada of California (Zielinski et al. 1995), in most areas of Oregon (Aubry and Lewis 2003), and throughout Washington (Lewis and Stinson 1998). Adequate population data are unavailable for much of the range. See also trend information for the West Coast Distinct Population Segment.

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Highly vulnerable
Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Low fecundity retards the recovery of populations from declines, further increasing their vulnerability (USFWS 2004).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Obtain better information on current distribution and abundance.

Protection Needs: Protect large tracts of habitat in areas well distributed throughout the range. Prevent excessive harvest.

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Fishers range from Quebec, the Maritime Provinces, and New England west across boreal Canada to southeastern Alaska, south in the western mountains to Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and California, and formerly south to Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Recently the species has expanded its range in the eastern United States, and it has been reintroduced in areas from which it was extirpated, including West Virginia, with some of the latter individuals wandering into Virginia (Handley 1991). The species is relatively abundant in the eastern provinces of Canada, with low populations in British Columbia (USFWS, Federal Register, 1 March 1996).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CA, CT, IAextirpated, ID, ILextirpated, INextirpated, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MT, NCextirpated, ND, NH, NJ, NY, OHextirpated, OR, PA, RI, TN, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
Canada AB, BC, MB, NB, NS, NT, NU, ON, QC, SK, YT

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: Sechrest, 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CA Alpine (06003)*, Amador (06005)*, Butte (06007)*, Calaveras (06009)*, Colusa (06011)*, Del Norte (06015), El Dorado (06017), Fresno (06019), Glenn (06021)*, Humboldt (06023), Inyo (06027)*, Kern (06029), Lake (06033), Lassen (06035), Madera (06039)*, Mariposa (06043), Mendocino (06045), Mono (06051)*, Nevada (06057), Placer (06061), Plumas (06063)*, Shasta (06089), Sierra (06091)*, Siskiyou (06093), Sonoma (06097), Tehama (06103), Trinity (06105), Tulare (06107), Tuolumne (06109), Yuba (06115)
ID Adams (16003), Benewah (16009), Boise (16015), Bonner (16017), Boundary (16021), Clearwater (16035), Custer (16037), Elmore (16039), Fremont (16043), Idaho (16049), Kootenai (16055), Lemhi (16059), Nez Perce (16069), Shoshone (16079), Teton (16081), Valley (16085)
MT Beaverhead (30001), Deer Lodge (30023), Flathead (30029), Glacier (30035), Granite (30039), Lake (30047), Lewis and Clark (30049), Lincoln (30053), Mineral (30061), Missoula (30063), Pondera (30073), Powell (30077), Ravalli (30081), Sanders (30089), Teton (30099)
ND Pembina (38067)
NJ Hunterdon (34019), Sussex (34037), Warren (34041)
OR Baker (41001)*, Clackamas (41005), Coos (41011), Curry (41015), Deschutes (41017), Douglas (41019), Jackson (41029), Josephine (41033), Klamath (41035), Lane (41039), Lincoln (41041), Tillamook (41057)*, Union (41061)*, Wallowa (41063)*
RI Providence (44007)*
VA Highland (51091)
WA Chelan (53007)+, Clallam (53009)+, Ferry (53019)+, Grays Harbor (53027)+, Jefferson (53031)+, King (53033)+, Kittitas (53037)+, Lewis (53041)+, Mason (53045)+, Okanogan (53047)+, Pend Oreille (53051)+, Pierce (53053)+, Skamania (53059)+, Spokane (53063)+, Stevens (53065)+, Wahkiakum (53069)+, Whatcom (53073)+, Yakima (53077)+
WY Albany (56001), Carbon (56007), Lincoln (56023), Park (56029), Sweetwater (56037)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Quinebaug (01100001)+*
02 Raritan (02030105)+, Middle Delaware-Mongaup-Brodhead (02040104)+, Middle Delaware-Musconetcong (02040105)+, South Branch Potomac (02070001)+
05 Greenbrier (05050003)+
09 Lower Pembina River (09020316)+, St. Marys (09040001)+, Belly (09040002)+
10 Big Hole (10020004)+, Upper Missouri (10030101)+, Upper Missouri-Dearborn (10030102)+, Sun (10030104)+, Two Medicine (10030201)+, Cut Bank (10030202)+, Teton (10030205)+, Milk Headwaters (10050001)+, Clarks Fork Yellowstone (10070006)+, Upper North Platte (10180002)+, Upper Laramie (10180010)+
14 Upper Green-Flaming Gorge Reservoir (14040106)+
16 Central Bear (16010102)+, Lake Tahoe (16050101)+*, Truckee (16050102)+*
17 Upper Kootenai (17010101)+, Fisher (17010102)+, Yaak (17010103)+, Lower Kootenai (17010104)+, Moyie (17010105)+, Elk (17010106)+, Upper Clark Fork (17010201)+, Flint-Rock (17010202)+, Blackfoot (17010203)+, Middle Clark Fork (17010204)+, Bitterroot (17010205)+, North Fork Flathead (17010206)+, Middle Fork Flathead (17010207)+, Flathead Lake (17010208)+, South Fork Flathead (17010209)+, Stillwater (17010210)+, Swan (17010211)+, Lower Flathead (17010212)+, Lower Clark Fork (17010213)+, Pend Oreille Lake (17010214)+, Priest (17010215)+, Pend Oreille (17010216), Upper Coeur D'alene (17010301)+, South Fork Coeur D'alene (17010302)+, Coeur D'alene Lake (17010303)+, St. Joe (17010304)+, Hangman (17010306)+, Little Spokane (17010308), Kettle (17020002), Colville (17020003), Methow (17020008), Lake Chelan (17020009), Upper Columbia-Entiat (17020010), Wenatchee (17020011), Upper Yakima (17030001), Naches (17030002), Upper Henrys (17040202)+, Teton (17040204)+, North and Middle Forks Boise (17050111)+, Boise-Mores (17050112)+, South Fork Boise (17050113)+, South Fork Payette (17050120)+, North Fork Payette (17050123)+, Brownlee Reservoir (17050201)+, Imnaha (17060102)+*, Upper Grande Ronde (17060104)+*, Wallowa (17060105)+*, Upper Salmon (17060201)+, Middle Salmon-Panther (17060203)+, Lemhi (17060204)+, Upper Middle Fork Salmon (17060205)+, Lower Middle Fork Salmon (17060206)+, Middle Salmon-Chamberlain (17060207)+, South Fork Salmon (17060208)+, Lower Salmon (17060209)+, Upper Selway (17060301)+, Lower Selway (17060302)+, Lochsa (17060303)+, Middle Fork Clearwater (17060304)+, South Fork Clearwater (17060305)+, Clearwater (17060306)+, Upper North Fork Clearwater (17060307)+, Lower North Fork Clearwater (17060308)+, Middle Columbia-Hood (17070105), Upper Deschutes (17070301)+, Little Deschutes (17070302)+, Upper Cowlitz (17080004), Lower Cowlitz (17080005), Lower Columbia (17080006), Middle Fork Willamette (17090001)+, Coast Fork Willamette (17090002)+*, Clackamas (17090011)+, Hoh-Quillayute (17100101), Queets-Quinault (17100102), Lower Chehalis (17100104), Wilson-Trusk-Nestuccu (17100203)+*, Siletz-Yaquina (17100204)+, Siuslaw (17100206)+*, North Umpqua (17100301)+, South Umpqua (17100302)+, Umpqua (17100303)+*, Coos (17100304)+, Sixes (17100306)+, Upper Rogue (17100307)+, Middle Rogue (17100308)+, Applegate (17100309)+, Lower Rogue (17100310)+, Illinois (17100311)+, Chetco (17100312)+, Nooksack (17110004), Upper Skagit (17110005), Skykomish (17110009), Snoqualmie (17110010), Nisqually (17110015), Skokomish (17110017), Hood Canal (17110018), Puget Sound (17110019), Dungeness-Elwha (17110020), Crescent-Hoko (17110021)
18 Smith (18010101)+, Mad-Redwood (18010102)+, Upper Eel (18010103)+, Middle Fork Eel (18010104)+, Lower Eel (18010105)+, South Fork Eel (18010106)+, Mattole (18010107)+*, Big-Navarro-Garcia (18010108)+*, Russian (18010110)+, Williamson (18010201)+, Upper Klamath Lake (18010203)+, Upper Klamath (18010206)+, Shasta (18010207)+, Scott (18010208)+, Lower Klamath (18010209)+, Salmon (18010210)+, Trinity (18010211)+, South Fork Trinity (18010212)+, Upper Pit (18020002)+*, Lower Pit (18020003)+, Mccloud (18020004)+, Sacramento headwaters (18020005)+, Upper Stony (18020115)+*, Upper Cache (18020116)+*, North Fork Feather (18020121)+, East Branch North Fork Feather (18020122)+*, Middle Fork Feather (18020123)+*, Upper Yuba (18020125)+, North Fork American (18020128)+, South Fork American (18020129)+*, Cow Creek (18020151)+, Cottonwood Creek (18020152)+, Battle Creek (18020153)+*, Clear Creek-Sacramento River (18020154)+, Paynes Creek-Sacramento River (18020155)+, Thomes Creek-Sacramento River (18020156)+*, Upper Putah (18020162)+, Upper Kern (18030001)+, South Fork Kern (18030002)+, Middle Kern-Upper Tehachapi- (18030003)+*, Upper Poso (18030004)+, Upper Deer-Upper White (18030005)+, Upper Tule (18030006)+, Upper Kaweah (18030007)+, Upper King (18030010)+, Tulare-Buena Vista Lakes (18030012)+, Upper San Joaquin (18040006)+, Upper Chowchilla-Upper Fresno (18040007)+*, Upper Merced (18040008)+, Upper Tuolumne (18040009)+, Upper Stanislaus (18040010)+, Upper Mokelumne (18040012)+*, Upper Cosumnes (18040013)+*, Honey-Eagle Lakes (18080003)+, Mono Lake (18090101)+*, Crowley Lake (18090102)+*, Owens Lake (18090103)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A fur-bearing mammal (fisher).
Reproduction Comments: Reportedly breeds late February-April or March-May, peak in March (late March-April in Manitoba); females mate probably within days of giving birth. Gestation lasts l year, including an 11-month period before implantation. Litter averages about 3 throughout the range. Births occur primarily from March to mid-April (sometimes in February or May in some areas). Young are mobile by 8 weeks, weaned in 2.5-4 months; separation from the mother occurs in the fifth month, in late summer or early fall. In Maine, young are weaned from mid-May to early June, independent probably in late August or early September (Arthur and Krohn 1991). Sexually mature in 1-2 years; not all adult females breed in a given year. Apparently promiscuous breeding. Very few males live more than 4 years, and less than 10% of females live more than 4 years.
Ecology Comments: Solitary except during the breeding season.

Home range has been estimated at 10-800 sq km by snow tracking, 7-78 sq km by telemetry using minimum convex polygon model; generally the ranges of adults of the same sex do not overlap. In Maine, home ranges of females were stable between seasons and years, but males moved extensively in late winter and early spring and their ranges shifted between years. In New Hampshire, mean annual home range was about 15-25 sq km, with daily movements usually were 1.5-3.0 km. In southern Quebec, mean home range size was 5.4 sq km for females and 9.2 sq km for males (Garant and Crete 1997). Has been recorded moving 90 km in 3 days (see Nowak 1991).

Population density in favorable habitat has been estimated at up to about 1 per 3-11 sq km in summer, 1 per 8-20 sq km in winter (Arthur et al. 1989). In southern Quebec, density was estimated at about 3 individuals per 10 sq km; the high density was atrributed to the absence of trapping (Garant and Crete 1997).

Habitat Type: Terrestrial
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: See Zielinski et al. (2004) for information on home range characteristics in California.
Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Conifer, Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Special Habitat Factors: Fallen log/debris, Standing snag/hollow tree
Habitat Comments: Fishers inhabit upland and lowland forests, including coniferous, mixed, and deciduous forests. They occur primarily in dense coniferous or mixed forests, including early successional forest with dense overhead cover (Thomas et al. 1993). Fishers commonly use hardwood stands in summer but prefer coniferous or mixed forests in winter. They generally avoid areas with little forest cover or significant human disturbance and conversely prefer large areas of contiguous interior forest (see USFWS 2004). Powell (1993) concluded that forest type is probably not as important to fishers as the vegetative and structural aspects that lead to abundant prey populations and reduced fisher vulnerability to predation, and that they may select forests that have low and closed canopies. Several studies have shown that fishers are associated with riparian areas (see USFWS 2004), which are in some cases protected from logging and generally more productive, thus having the dense canopy closure, large trees and general structural complexity associated with fisher habitat (Dark 1997). Riparian areas may be important to fishers because they provide important rest site elements, such as broken tops, snags, and coarse woody debris (Seglund 1995).

Fishers are regarded as habitat specialists in the western United States (Buskirk and Powell 1994), occurring only at mid- to lower elevation in mature conifer and mixed conifer/hardwood forests characterized by dense canopies and abundant large trees, snags, and logs (Powell and Zielinski 1994). In contrast, fishers in the northeastern United States and the Great Lakes region inhabit areas with a large component of deciduous hardwood forest containing American beech (Fagus grandifolia), sugar maple (Acer saccharum), and other broadleaf species (Powell and Zielinski 1994). The majority of conifer forest habitat in Canada is characterized as boreal forest, which is different from the relatively dryer environmental conditions associated with Washington, Oregon, and California. In the Rocky Mountains of north-central Idaho, certain all-conifer habitat types, which include grand fir and Engelmann spruce appear to be important to, and preferentially selected by fishers (Jones 1991).

Fishers are adapted for climbing but are primarily terrestrial. When inactive, they occupy a den in a tree hollow, under a log, or in the ground or a rocky crevice, or they rest in branches of conifer (warmer months). In Connecticut, Kilpatrick and Rego (1994) found that tree with a dbh of 32 cm or more may provide cavities for rest sites in hardwood-dominated forests.

Young are born in a den in a tree hollow (usually), or under a log or in a rocky crevice. Large snags (greater than 50 cm dbh) are important as maternal den sites (Thomas et al. 1993). Of 19 tree dens documented by Truex et al. (1998) across three study areas in California, the average diameter was 115 cm for conifers and 63 cm for hardwoods. Of 16 maternal and natal dens located on managed timberlands in northwestern California, nine were in cavities in hardwoods and seven were in conifer snags: diameters of den trees ranged from 62.5 cm to 295 cm (Simpson Resource Company 2003). See USFWS (2004) for further details on dens used by fishers in California and British Columbia.

West Coast Distinct Population Segment:

The key aspects of fisher habitat are best expressed in forest stands with late-successional characteristics. Fishers use habitat with high canopy closure, large trees and snags, large woody debris, large hardwoods, multiple canopy layers, and avoidance of areas lacking overhead canopy cover (see references in USFWS 2004). Fishers also occupy and reproduce in some managed forest landscapes and forest stands not classified as late-successional that provide some of the habitat elements important to fisher, such as relatively large trees, high canopy closure, large legacy trees, and large woody debris, in second-growth forest stands (Klug 1997, Simpson Resource Company 2003). However, intensive management for fiber production on industrial timberlands does not typically provide for retention of these elements. It is unlikely that early and mid-successional forests, especially those that have resulted from timber harvest, will provide the same prey resources, rest sites and den sites as more mature forests (see USFWS 2004). Late-successional coniferous or mixed forests provide the most suitable fisher habitat because they provide abundant potential den sites and preferred prey species (Allen 1987). Forest structure of good quality fisher habitat should provide high diversity of dense prey populations, high vulnerability of prey to fishers, and natal and maternal dens and resting sites (Powell and Zielinski 1994). Younger forests in which complex forest structural components such as large logs, snags, and tree cavities are maintained in significant numbers, and which provide a diverse prey base, may be suitable for fisher (Lewis and Stinson 1998). [from USFWS (2004), which see for further details on habitat in California]

See also Zielinski et al. (2004) for information on habitat characteristics in California.

Adult Food Habits: Carnivore
Immature Food Habits: Carnivore
Food Comments: Diet consists primarily of mammals (small rodents, shrews, squirrels, hares, muskrat, beaver, porcupine, raccoon, deer carrion); also birds, other small animals, carrion, and fruit.
Adult Phenology: Circadian, Diurnal, Nocturnal
Immature Phenology: Circadian, Diurnal, Nocturnal
Phenology Comments: Active both day/night. Mainly nocturnal/crepuscular in summer and diurnal in winter. In south-central Maine, most activity occurred shortly before sunrise and after sunset; activity was reduced in winter (Arthur and Krohn 1991); females caring for weaned offspring showed increased diurnal activity (Paragi et al., 1994, Can. Field-Nat. 108:52-57.
Length: 103 centimeters
Weight: 8200 grams
Economic Attributes
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Economic Comments: Total harvest in Canada and the U.S. was about 20,200 in the early 1980s; pelts sold for an average of about $50. The highest quality pelts sold for $450 in Ontario in 1986. See Strickland et al. 1982 and Nowak 1991 for further (though somewhat dated) information on harvest and fur prices.
Management Summary
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Management Requirements: In the Pacific Northwest, habitat conservation measures proposed/implemented for the spotted owl and marbled murrelet, and for riparian zones, generally are sufficient to prevent the extirpation of this species, but ongoing management reassessment, monitoring, and adaptive management are important (U.S. Forest Service et al. 1993; see also Thomas et al. 1993).

Because fisher populations are extremely low in northern Oregon and Washington, U.S. Forest Service et al. (1993) recommended that kill trapping of American martens should be prohibited within the overlapping ranges of marten, fisher, and spotted owl until the rate of accidental take of fishers is determined to be insignificant.

Fishers from several source populations were released in Oregon in 1961 and from 1977 to 1981; successful reintroductions (beginning in the early 1960s) have occurred in Montana and Idaho (USFWS 2004).

There are currently efforts underway to implement a conservation strategy to reintroduce the fisher into its former range along the Pacific Coast. Additional populations of fishers will reduce the probability that a stochastic event would result in extirpation of the species. Genetic data indicate that British Columbia would be the most appropriate source population for future translocations that may be necessary to recover populations in Washington and portions of Oregon and California (Drew et al. 2003).

As of 2004, the Pacific Region (Region 5) of the U.S. Forest Service was due to complete a conservation assessment for the fisher in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This effort is part of the Sierra Nevada Framework planning document and is a collaborative effort including scientists from the State and Federal agencies. The assessment may be used to develop a conservation strategy for the Sierra Nevada fisher populations in California. The timber industry and their representatives, including Sierra Pacific Industries, Simpson Timber Company and the California Forestry Association have indicated willingness to develop a conservation strategy to, if appropriate, conduct a reintroduction and/or relocation strategy in California. Their participation could include funding, staffing, and assistance with analysis and planning. [from USFWS 2004]
The State of Washington has completed a reintroduction feasibility study and has identified several sites in the Washington Cascades and the Olympic Peninsula where sufficient potential habitat exists to support a fisher population. Reintroduction efforts and evaluation by the State are ongoing and would potentially compliment efforts to establish additional populations throughout the range of the fisher (USFWS 2004).


USFWS will evaluate a completed conservation strategy in accordance with their Policy on Evaluating Conservation Efforts (68 FR 15100, March 28 2003) to determine whether it sufficiently removes threats to the fisher so that it no longer meets the definition of threatened under the Act (USFWS 2004).

See Berg (1982) for information on fisher reintroduction.

Monitoring Requirements: See Zielinski and Stauffer (1996) for a population monitoring procedure (using baited track-plate stations). See Arthur (1988) for information on capture and radiocollaring.
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 16Nov2005
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G., based primarily on USFWS (2004)
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 20Sep2010
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G., and USFWS (2004)

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

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Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Bird Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."

Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/birdDistributionmapsmetadatav1.pdf.

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

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