Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Videos of Pacific fisher in the Siskiyou Mountains


Game cameras are a good way to capture images of wildlife in order to document their presence and monitor their behavior. We have been setting up game cameras in the Siskiyou Mountains for years, capturing photos or videos of bears, deer, ringtail cats, fox, grouse, lots of mice and other common critters.

Two weeks ago we finally got what we'd been working to capture on video for a couple years: Pacific fisher! These three videos were captured at three in the afternoon, so the videos turned out really good with full color, as opposed to nighttime videos that rely on infrared and are in black and white.

We captured footage of this fisher in the Elliott Ridge Roadless Area in the Upper Applegate at the foot of the Siskiyou Crest. The camera was set up on a small, seasonal tributary stream in an old-growth forest; just as we suspected, it is prime fisher habitat. Recently we had two deer killed on our property, presumably by a cougar. We took some of the bones from the deer kill for the camera and the fisher obviously was pleased to scavenge the bones. This particular fisher appears to be a male because of its large size. Notice the tail wagging in one of the videos. Fishers have long, active tails, which is the reason people have often called them fisher cats.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may soon list the Pacific fisher as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Endangered species protection for the Pacific fisher would protect the species and its old forest habitats in the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains. The Siskiyou Mountains support one of the largest remaining populations of the Pacific fisher and should be listed as "critical habitat." Documentation of where fishers live, hunt and disperse is necessary to help this species recover from population decline. Citizens, scientists, and wildlife managers can all contribute to this information through monitoring, observation and research. Someday, hopefully, fishers will once again inhabit their original range on the West Coast of North America. From the wilds of the Klamath-Siskiyou, this species may come back from the brink of extinction. These videos speak for themselves — the Pacific fisher is a beautiful species!


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