Occupancy Patterns in a Reintroduced Fisher Population during Reestablishment

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From 2008-10, researchers translocated 90 fishers from British Columbia to Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. 

Subsequent monitoring allowed researchers to assess population restoration success, evaluate modeling assumptions about suitable reintroduction areas in Washington State, and identify fisher habitat associations in the coastal Pacific Northwest. Using motion-sensing cameras and hair (DNA)-snaring devices deployed in 2013-16, researchers found that fisher occupancy was strongly associated with the boundary between wilderness and more intensively managed forest lands, which provided suitable prey in proximity to contiguous forests for resting, denning, and security. They also found evidence that fisher population distribution had not yet stabilized following translocation, and that not all habitat was fully occupied or that initial estimates of available habitat were overestimated. Genetic results indicated that at least two generations of fishers have been produced on the Peninsula. This study raises several questions to guide future research on fisher population establishment and regional habitat relationships. 

Happe, P.J., Jenkins, K.J., McCaffery, R.M., Lewis, J.C., Pilgrim, K.L., Schwartz, M.K., 2020, Occupancy patterns in a reintroduced fisher population during reestablishment: Journal of Wildlife Management, v. 84, no. 2, p. 344-358, https://doi.org/10.1002/jwmg.21788.


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