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First documented reproduction by reintroduced fishers in Olympic National Park [See video]

Fishers disappeared from Washington sometime in the mid 1900s due to over-trapping and loss of habitat.  Efforts to reintroduced fishers to Olympic National Park on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula began in January of 2008.   Since 2008, 49 fishers have been reintroduced to Olympic National Park, however reproduction by a reintroduced female had not yet been documented, until now.

A sequence of photographs shows radio-collared female fisher F007 climbing a suspected den snag, climbing down the snag and carrying kits in her mouth (on 4 occasions), and taking kits to a new location.  Females commonly move their kits to new den sites when the kits become more mobile.  Hopefully this is the first of many litters of fisher kits to be born in Olympic National Park.     

Click on photo to enlarge
Click on photo to enlarge

Figure 1.  In mid-May, biologists located female fisher F007 in this large snag in the northeastern portion of Olympic National Park and placed automated cameras at the site to determine if she was using the snag as a den site.  Note the abundant cavity excavations in the snag created by a pileated woodpecker(s).  Cavities created by pileated woodpeckers are commonly used as den sites by female fishers.

Click on photo to enlarge
Click on photo to enlarge

Figure 2. Female fisher F007 photographed climbing the suspected den snag.  Her repeated use of the snag provided further support that she had given birth to kits.

Click on photo to enlarge
Click on photo to enlarge

Figure 3.  Female fisher F007 photographed climbing an adjacent tree to gain access to the suspected den snag, which is located in center of the photo. Again, note the pileated woodpecker cavities in the snag.

Click on photo to enlarge
Click on photo to enlarge


Figure 4.
  Female fisher F007 photographed moving one of her four kits to a new den site on 23 May, 2009. Female fishers usually give birth to 1-4 kits in late March or early April.

Click on photo to enlarge
Click on photo to enlarge

Figure 5.  A photograph of the suspected den cavity (higher of the 2 larger cavities) in the den snag. Scatch marks can be seen on the side of the snag, where the female regularly climbed the snag to access the den cavity.

Click on photo to enlarge
Click on photo to enlarge

Figure 6.  Female fisher F007 carrying one of her four kits to a new den site on 23 May 2009. This is the first documented reproduction of reintroduced fishers in Olympic National Park. Female F007 was released in the Elwha Valley in January of 2008.