E-mail Story   Print Story
  Comments (8) Total Friday Apr. 18, 2014
Environmental Groups Seek Fisher Protection
Fishers live in old-growth forests in western Montana and northern Idaho
HELENA — Six environmental groups petitioned the federal government Monday to enact endangered species protections for the Northern Rockies fisher, saying increased trapping in Montana and Idaho is killing more of the small, weasel-like predators.

The fisher, which lives in old-growth forests in western Montana and northern Idaho, preys on porcupines, snowshoe hares and other small animals and birds. There is no comprehensive population estimate for the predators, though environmental groups believe up to 500 may be living in the Northern Rockies.

"But nobody actually knows," said Tierra Curry, a conservation biologist for the Center for Biological Diversity. "We know they have come back in a couple of places, but there is no overall data available."

The Center for Biological Diversity and five other environmental groups filed their petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeking to designate the Northern Rockies fisher as an endangered or threatened species. A similar petition was rejected in 2011 when federal wildlife officials determined trapping, logging and residential development did not appear to be hurting fisher populations.

Since the original petition was filed in 2009, trapping has increased in Idaho and Montana, the environmental groups said. Since 2008, the number of fishers caught in traps set for other animals has more than doubled compared with those trapped between 2002 and 2007, they said.

Research that was lacking in 2009 has produced more information about the Northern Rockies fishers' habitat in old-growth forests, and should bolster the new petition, Curry said.

The fisher is listed as a sensitive species U.S. Forest Service's Northern Region, which includes Idaho and Montana. Montana considers the fisher potentially at risk because of limited or declining numbers, range or habitat. But the state says the predator may be abundant in some areas and it allows limited trapping of the animals.

Idaho has no open season for fishers and considers the predator critically imperiled. Even so, 76 fishers were caught in traps meant for other animals in Idaho between 2010 and 2012, 22 of which were killed, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

The Fish and Wildlife Service has 90 days to determine whether information in the petition is substantial enough to warrant further study. The agency may issue a negative finding or decide to gather more information.
On 09-24-13, rtchoice commented....
Save the endangered Anophelines!
  • Whitefish's Own Indoor Marketplace
    rtchoice said: "If this is permitted, the next thing you know someone will be wanting to paint an ice cream cone on the side of the building.…
  • North Fork Politics
    Red Green said: "@ ride4fun:  AMEN!"
  • Support Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act
    Matthew Koehler said: "Here are some substantive comments based on the actual text of the Rocky Mountain Heritage Act. These comments are provided from the perspective of a…
  • EPA Ready To Designate CFAC Plant a Superfund Site
    LogicalOne said: "Once a Super Site, (and even now knowing it is a health and environmental risk) who would want to locate there?  Who would want to…
  • North Fork Politics
    ride4fun said: "It is politics as usual…...which is quite disturbing.  Figures Ted Cruz would put his hand into it—he seems to like stalling and holding up legislation. …
Kellyn Brown
Kellyn Brown19h
Season Passes for the 2014/15 season are now on sale! http://t.co/CQ4Rw3cXdv
Dillon Tabish
Dillon Tabish34m
Job Gains Boost Flathead Valley Employment Rates http://t.co/4ellGofDsR More than 360 jobs were gained last month in Flathead County
Molly Priddy
Molly Priddy2h
@npratc @nprnews TRIUMPH so good
Tristan Scott
Tristan Scott16 Apr
Your Survival Guide To Coachella http://t.co/hlyov5FZjv via @IamJessicaLima http://t.co/0b5csXZiN8
Flathead Beacon
FB Headlines3h
Forest Service Names New Deputy Regional Forester http://t.co/XW1dndQyDB