Furry Forest Creature Won't Get Federal Protections
A weasel-like creature that lives in northwest forests will remain unprotected. Thursday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it won't list the fisher as an endangered species. That decision could affect the animal's population across the west.
Fishers look like a cross between a mink and wolverine, and they have some unique traits:
Werntz: "They're among the few that are able to find a meal in a porcupine."
Dave Werntz is with Conservation Northwest.
The cat-sized animal has struggled across the west for more than 60 years. But just a few years ago, Werntz and others reintroduced the fisher in Washington and saw the species rebound.
That's one reason the federal government decided not to list West Coast fishers as endangered. But Werntz says the same recovery work isn't happening in Oregon and California, where fishers struggle.
Werntz: "The lesson isn't that since everything is fine in Washington, that everything is fine on the West Coast. And I think the federal government missed an opportunity to help recover fisher across their entire range."
He says Washington's success is great, but it only happened because organizations stepped up to do the recovery work.