USFWS Reconsiders ESA Protection For Northern Rockies Fishers

Jan 13, 2017

The Fish and Wildlife Service is revisiting whether fishers warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act.

On Friday the Service announced it is seeking comment on the status of the fisher - a member of the weasel family - in its distinct northern Rocky Mountain population for potential listing as a threatened or endangered species.

The Service previously decided listing was not warranted in 2011.

Neil Anderson, a wildlife program manager for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, says fisher populations are small but steady:

"We don't have a lot of fisher in northwestern Montana, and that's the only place we know of fisher existing in the state," Anderson says.

Fishers were reintroduced to the state in the 1960s. There are an estimated 300 in the northwest corner of Montana, where they are still legally trapped.

The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the Service for this latest push for listing, saying habitat loss and trapping have "decimated" the fisher population.

The Fish and Wildlife Service will accept comments on the status of the Northern Rockies fisher through February 13.