Pacific Fisher

Pacific Fisher Reintroduction Project

Have you ever seen a Pacific fisher [Pekania pennanti] in the North Cascades?  Some of our senior members might have been so fortunate.   It was declared extirpated (absent) in the 1990s, and none have been observed there since.  In 2004 the Pacific fisher was placed on the federal Endangered Species list. But wait, didn’t NCCC fight hard to get North Cascades National Park established [1968] to protect all the species and their habitats in that region?  What happened?  So far, no one has identified a smoking gun (or a sneaky trap) to say why the species disappeared.

Starting in 2008, some 90 fishers captured in central British Columbia were imported into Olympic National Park and released. Preliminary reports were positive, so North Cascades National Park and Mt. Rainier National Park teamed up with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and many others to reintroduce fishers into known previously occupied habitats, starting in 2015.  [See map of current versus former range below]. A report released in July of 2022 showed the Pacific Fisher reintroduction efforts to be a success so far.

“Considered extirpated (absent) from Washington since the mid-1990s, the Pacific fisher (Pekania  pennanti) is the only native carnivore that is no longer found within the Cascade Range of Washington State. In 1998, the State formally listed the fisher as endangered, and in 2004, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the West Coast fisher as a federal candidate for listing as an endangered or threatened species.”

Read more on the NPS website
Source: WDFW website on the Pacific fisher