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In About-Face, Feds Deny Endangered Species Protections for Pacific Fisher

The Pacific fisher, a small, weasel-like predator whose numbers in Oregon’s forests have plummeted since European settlement of the West, will not join the federal endangered species list.

Backtracking from a 2014 finding that federal protection was needed to save the fisher from extinction — amid pressure from wildfires, logging and pesticide use in the marijuana industry the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Thursday it won’t list the cat-sized furbearer.

What changed? Federal wildlife managers now say those threats aren’t harming fishers as much as they’d thought. The animal’s real problem, they say, is a slow rebound from the trapping, hunting and habitat loss that decimated its ranks decades ago.

“We don’t have a fisher habitat problem,” said Paul Henson, Oregon state supervisor for the fish and wildlife service. “We have a fisher shortage.”

Rather than imposing region-wide regulations, federal wildlife managers will work with landowners to protect Pacific fishers in private forests. They’ve also launched a coast-wide effort to reintroduce fishers into habitats they haven’t occupied for decades.

Read full article:  In About-Face, Fed Deny Endangered Species Protection for the Pacific Fisher

Photo: U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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