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Wildlife Service nixes fisher protection

Published on July 15, 2011 3:01AM

Last changed on August 12, 2011 10:38AM

The fisher, a badger-like forest mammal, doesn't warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, according to the federal government.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has found the risks from habitat loss, logging, climate change and other factors do not rise to the level of threatening the species' existence.

"We expect that fishers' use of lands managed for timber production or multiple uses will occur in the future under conditions fostered by the continuance of current management," the agency said.

The fisher experienced major reductions in range during the late 1800s and early 1900s due to trapping and was presumed extinct in the U.S. in the 1920s, according to the agency.

Since then, their numbers have recovered though "little is known of the population numbers, trends or vital rates of fishers," in the Western United States, the agency said.

The species is currently found throughout much of Canada, as well as parts of New England and the upper Midwest.

The Fish and Wildlife Service's unwarranted decision pertains to fishers in the northern Rocky Mountains.

Environmental groups have also been pushing the federal government to list fishers in the Pacific states as endangered or threatened since the early 1990s.

The government has found that such a listing was warranted but precluded by studies of higher-priority species. Environmental groups filed a lawsuit challenging that decision last year and the case is still pending in federal court.

-- Mateusz Perkowski


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