The Pacific Fisher Story...

The Pacific fisher is closely related to but larger than the American Marten (Martes americana). Credit: Bethany Weeks/Fickr CC

Fishers are forest-dwelling mammals in a family that includes weasels, mink, martens, and otters. They are about the size of a large house-cat and are light brown to dark blackish-brown. The fisher has a long body with short legs and a long bushy tail.

Learn about the Pacific fisher in our StoryMap Journal
article here.
Photo Credit: Jon Myatt/USFWS

Its range was reduced dramatically in the 1800s and early 1900s through trapping, predator and pest control, and alterations of forested habitats brought about by logging, fire, urbanization and farming.

Present day loss of forest habitat due to wildfire and some types of logging that has significantly reduced and fragmented the fisher's range.

But a new threat has appeared. Poisons have been found at illegal marijauna growing sites on public land all over northern California and southern Oregon.

The poisons -- Anticoagulant rodenticides -- act by interfering with liver synthesis of vitamin K-dependent blood-clotting factors and damaging the small blood vessels. Symptoms of anticoagulant exposure are bleeding from the nose and gums, extensive bruises, anemia, fatigue, behavioral changes, and difficulty breathing.

Learn more in our StoryMap Journal article -- The Pacific Fisher: A Fight For Survival.

Download high quality images and video of the Pacific Fisher here.

PACIFIC FISHER (Pekania Pennanti)

The fisher (Pekania pennanti) is a member of the weasel family, similar to but larger than the marten.


Fishers eat snowshoe hares, rabbits, rodents and birds, and are one of the few specialized predators of porcupines. Fishers are effective hunters, but are also known to eat insects, nuts, and berries when prey is not available.


Fishers are common in the Northeast and Midwest, but rare in the Northern Rockies and Northwest, where they are one of the rarest carnivores.


Historically, the species ranged the northern forests of Canada and the United States as well as forests in the Appalachian, Rocky and Pacific Coast Mountains. Today, fishers are found only in parts of their historic range. The West Coast population of fisher (Pekania pennanti), the subject of this action, is found only in Southern Oregon, Northern California and the Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains.,


Fishers prefer large areas of dense mature coniferous or mixed forest and are solitary animals. They are mainly nocturnal, but may be active during the day. They travel many miles along ridges in search of prey, seeking shelter in hollow trees, logs, rock crevices, and dens of other animals.


Mating Season: April.

Gestation: Egg implantation is delayed till February or March of the next year, following which is a 30-day gestation period.

Litter Size: 1-4 kits. The kits remain with their mother until the fall.