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Pacific fisher denied endangered species protection in Oregon

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Pacific fisher

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Pacific fisher, a weasel-like carnivore native to Oregon’s southern old growth forests, has been denied endangered species protection in the state, the latest twist in a legal back-and-forth that has continued for 20 years.

In the decision issued last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, declined to grant the fisher threatened status in southern Oregon and northern California, citing voluntary conservation measures as effective in protecting the woodland creatures, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

“Voluntary conservation efforts by state and private timber owners have contributed to the Northern California-Southern Oregon population of fisher appearing stable within a large range of suitable habitat,” Paul Henson, state supervisor in the Oregon office of the agency, said in a statement.

That notion doesn’t square for Nick Cady, legal director for Cascadia Wildlands, one of the environmental organizations that originally petitioned to protect fishers in Oregon in 2000.

“We’ve been operating under voluntary conservation efforts for a number of species for a long time,” Cady said. “And these mature-forest species are still spiraling downhill.”

Fishers were once abundant in the Pacific Northwest, creating dens in tree cavities in forests from the Cascades to the coast range in Oregon, Washington and California. With the arrival of European settlers the animals were trapped to near extinction and much of their native habitat was destroyed.

Today, biologists estimate anywhere from a few hundred to a couple thousand fishers live in Oregon, most near the California border. Fishers have been recently reintroduced in Washington state.

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The Associated Press


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