Description: Weasel* meets cat with a stunning silver-brown coat. Kits — baby fishers — are born once a year. *Actually a member of the weasel family.
Habitat: Forest specialist. Once ranged from Canada to northern California. Prefers old-growth Douglas fir habitat where it can find plenty of large trees, snags or logs in which to make a den.
Endangered Species Act Listing status: Not protected.
Threats: Loss of old-growth forests due to logging and high-severity fires, as well as the application of rodenticides on illegal cannabis farms, has dwindled the fisher down to two remaining population pockets.
Estimated population: According to the Environmental Protection Information Center, 100 to 500 fishers reside in the southern Sierra Nevada. The other pocket of Fishers is right here in the KS, where population estimates range from just 250 to a few thousand.
Superpower: Creative hunter. Other carnivores chase their prey on foot — boring! The fisher specializes in sneak attacks from a high perch, taking rabbits, voles and other small mammals by surprise. The fisher is also excellent at catching porcupines. Its secret: flipping the quilled beast on its back to expose the soft underbelly, or just biting it repeatedly in the face.
What’s being done? A petition to list the Pacific fisher as Endangered was submitted in 2000. The decision was delayed indefinitely by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In September 2018 the Service was ordered by a U.S. District Court to revisit the listing status and make a decision.
Learn more about our efforts to protect public forests and the wildlife.