By Alaina Kowitz, Communications and Outreach Associate
It’s always exciting to pick up photos of endangered and threatened animals on our wildlife monitoring cameras. It's even more important when it’s an animal whose recovery we’re closely involved with.
Such was the case when one of our volunteers from our Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project sent in photos of a fisher taken near Bumping Lake, east of Mount Rainier!
Taken earlier this year and just recently discovered, these photos show what is undoubtedly a fisher that was released last winter by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), National Park Service, and Conservation Northwest south of Mount Rainier National Park. Last winter marked the first year of fisher releases in the South Cascades, an epic moment for Conservation Northwest, as we've been working on restoring these native carnivores in Washington for over a decade.
When this multi-year reintroduction project has finished, we will have released approximately 80 fishers into their native habitat at Mount Rainier and in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Then, likely in 2018 or 2019, we'll turn to the North Cascades, where the project partners plan to release 80 fishers in North Cascades National Park and Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
Receiving these photos right now is especially timely since we’ve begun our second year of fisher releases in the Cascades, this time in and around Mount Rainier National Park. Two releases have taken place over the past two weeks.
For more information on our fisher reintroduction project, visit our webpage here.
The fisher photographed on remote camera near Bumping Lake in early 2016. Photo: CWMP
WDFW data shows that this specific fisher, a male, traveled as far north as the Stampede Pass area south of I-90, which also suggests the importance of having safe crossing structures for wildlife to move over and under the Interstate.
And while this remote camera was originally set up to monitor for wolves in the South Cascades, we hope to find more images of fishers from this area as the weasel-like species continues to repopulate their native habitat. Our wildlife monitoring efforts will continue to help experts in our state understand how fisher populations are faring and where they’re moving, as well as the status of other rare and recovering species. We’re so excited to see these animals expanding their range in the Cascades after years of effort to restore them!