USFWS will review whether the fisher should be listed under the ESA

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A fisher. (U.S. Forest Service, region 5 photo)

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Friday the initiation of a status review for the distinct population segment of Northern Rocky Mountain fisher, to determine whether this population meets the definition of an endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

Bigger than a marten, but smaller than a wolverine, the fisher is in the same family that also includes weasels, mink, and otters. Fishers live in coniferous and mixed conifer and hardwood forests and are found commonly in mature forest cover. They’re one of the few creatures that kill and eat porcupines.

In Montana, the best fisher habitat is in the old growth wilderness of the Selway-Bitterroot. While fisher tracks have been noted in places like Glacier National Park, extensive hair trapping studies done a few years ago did not find any fishers, according to Park biologist John Waller.

The fisher has drew controversy earlier this year when some groups wanted Montana to ban trapping of the animals, but FWP chose not to do so. The current quota for fisher in Montana is five in the Bitterroots and one in the Cabinet Mountains, where they’re also known to exist.

The Service encourages all interested parties to provide any information they may have regarding the status of, and any potential threats to, the northern Rocky Mountain population of the fisher prior to this deadline.

The public may submit comments by one of the following methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter FWS-R6-ES-2015-0104, which is the docket number for this action. Then click on the Search button. You may enter a comment by clicking on “Comment Now!” Please ensure that you have found the correct document before submitting your comment.

U.S. mail or hand delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. FWS-R6-ES-2015-0104, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.

Please note that the Service will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that the Service will post any personal information you provide.

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