Rare Fisher Found in Western New Jersey
Good news for fishers! This weasel family member could be making a comeback in New Jersey!
“There have only been three live discoveries of fishers in New Jersey in the last decade, but two have now been found in 2016. The state’s first capture of the largest member of the weasel family in more than nine years took place on Jan. 15 in Mansfield Township. Less than a month later, another fisher was caught and released on Feb. 6 in Washington Township, according to New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.”
“While logging operations and unregulated trapping dramatically slashed New Jersey’s fisher population in the early 1900s, the latest evidence of fishers indicate that their presence may be on the rise.”
“Northern Pennsylvania reintroduced roughly 200 fishers back into the region nearly two decades ago, while a trap-and-transfer project between 1976 and 1979 brought a sustainable population back to the Catskill Mountains.”
“In October 2006, University of Montclair student Charles Kontos captured three fishers on a trail camera in Stoke State Forest as part of his graduate research project. By 2008, six confirmed fisher sightings had taken place.”
“The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife now has records of 59 different fishers being reported by the general public, although many have not been followed up or confirmed. There is no open trapping season for fisher or bobcat, and anyone who encounters either species should notify the Division of Fish and Wildlife by calling 877-927-6337.”
This comes after New Jersey has recently allowed closed foothold traps to be set again after a complete ban on trapping came in the mid-1980s. Hopefully, fishers will not begin to fall victim to these traps again.
Recent rare fisher sighting reports in Wyoming by credible sources lead us to believe that fishers survive in our National Parks and on private land. However, indiscriminate trapping on our public lands doesn’t provide a chance for survival in our remaining forested habitat.
Photo: New Jersey Herald/AP File Photo Louie Balukoff