The fisher will be reintroduced to the Cascade Mountains by Washington state and federal wildlife officials. Meanwhile, in British Columbia, fisher can be trapped, maimed, and killed for their fur in several jurisdictions.
The Times Colonist reported this weekend on the move by our neighbours below the 49th parallel, which will transplant as many as 160 of the weasel-like fur-bearers from British Columbia into a range where they once thrived.
“We have a chance to correct a thing that we didn't manage correctly a long time ago. We can restore a species," one biologist told The Associated Press.
Of course, the populations in British Columbia aren’t exactly stable. The province has blue-listed fishers – meaning they are a species of special concern. In some management zones, trappers are allowed to catch and killer fishers; in others, they’re asked not to. The BC hunting and trapping regulation booklet indicates the government’s commitment to using the highest-quality data and modelling with comments like “trappers are encouraged to help provide this data by ensuring all fishers taken are reported or inspected in a timely manner.”
They also ask trappers to do their part to protect fisher populations by making marten traps ever-so-slightly larger.
This is a fruitless effort, though, as indicated in a government document that noted “harvest seasons for fishers were closed for 2 years during 1990-92, but the harvest of fishers (through incidental kills) remained basically unchanged.”
While our southern neighbours are taking clear, decisive, and aggressive action to protect species at risk and reintroduce native species essential to ecosystems, British Columbia is officially shrugging and talking about how pretty the mountains are.
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