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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Monday, June 24, 2013

In recent years, we have seen the most densely populated state in the union, New Jersey, welcome back the scrappy and resourceful Fisher..............Now, evidence has been cited in Michigan showing that the Fisher is expanding it's range out of the relatively uninhabited(human population) Upper Peninsula south into the more populated Lower Peninsula..............The Eastern half of the USA blinked out for the Fisher toward the end of the 19th century...............As the forests have recovered in sections of what was truly a northern hemisphere rain forest(40-60 inches of rain east of the Mississippi River), remnant Fisher populations have fought their way back and taken their rightful place as denizens of the Eastern woodlands...........Sympatric with their slightly smaller weasel cousins, the American Marten(both occupy similar habitat and consume the same prey base), Fishers have slowed the reintroduction of Martens through direct conflict and killing........................ Published accounts of mortality in unharvested populations of martens have varied (range 53- 95%) widely (reviewed by McCann et al. 2010)............. In neighboring Wisconsin annual adult survival of Martens was 0.81 (N= 34; McCann et al. 2010) in the Chequamegon MPA.................... Fishers were successfully reestablished in the MPAs prior to marten restoration efforts (Kohn et al. 1993), and there is strong evidence that fishers were responsible for at least 40% of the natural marten mortalities reported since 2000 (McCann et al. 2010, J. Woodford, WDNR, unpublished data)

Weasel-like fisher 

returns to



In this undated photo provided by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, a fisher is shown in North Allis Township, Mich., located in Presque Isle County. The fisher, a forest-dwelling mammal that once ranged across Michigan but disappeared from the state in the last century, has recovered strongly in the Upper Peninsula and its presence has now been confirmed at the tip of the Lower Peninsula, officials said Monday, June 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Mike O'Meara)

  a fisher is
 shown in North Allis
 Township, Mich., located in 
Presque Isle County. The 
fisher, a forest-dwelling
 mammal that once ranged 
across Michigan but disappeared
 from the state in 
the last century, has recovered
 strongly in the Upper 
Peninsula and its presence has
 now been confirmed 
at the tip of the Lower Peninsula,
 officials said Monday,

 out in Michigan, the
mammal known as the
 fisher has
returned to the tip of
Michigan’s Lower
 Peninsula after making
 a solid recovery
 in the Upper Peninsula,
 state wildlife
officials said Monday.
With short legs, small ears,
 thick, dark
 fur and bushy tails, the
fisher once
roamed the entire state
 but had
disappeared by 1936 as
 mowed down its forest
 habitat and
trappers over-harvested
 those that
remained for their pelts.
 biologists began
 restoration efforts
 in the U.P. in the 1960s,
and within
a few decades the animal
 had bounced
 back sufficiently to allow
 a regulated
 trapping season.
Despite occasional
 reported sightings
 in the northern Lower
Peninsula, the
 Department of Natural
 Resources was
able to confirm the
 presence of a fisher
there only recently.
Melissa and Nate
 Sayers of Onaway
 were walking in
 rural Presque Isle
 County when they
saw what first
 appeared to be a bear
 cub in a tree, the DNR
 said. When it
moved, they realized it
was something else.
american pine marten slightly smaller than the Fisher

When shown photos
 of the animal,
DNR wildlife biologist
Jennifer Kleitch
 went to the location
and confirmed
 they were authentic.
“It’s a neat discovery
 — a good signal
 that things are going
well for the species,
” Kleitch said. “It’s
probably an indicator
 that their habitat is
How fishers could have
reached the area
 is unknown. But there
 have been reports
of animals crossing
 between the two
 peninsulas at the
Straits of Mackinac,
 the 5-mile-wide area
 where Lakes
 Michigan and Huron
converge, when
 the surface freezes
 in winter, she said.
Although sometimes
 referred to as
“fisher cats,” they are
 members of the
 weasel family, which
 also includes minks
and martens. Males
 typically are three to
 four feet long and weigh
 seven to 13 pounds
. Females are slightly
smaller. They feed
 primarily on small and
 mammals such as mice
 and rabbits as
 well as dead deer, fruits
and nuts.
They’re also among the
 few animals with
 the courage to attack
porcupines. The
 nimble fisher will cling
to a tree above
 the porcupine and
repeatedly bite its
 one vulnerable spot
 — its face, said
 Dwayne Etter, a DNR
 wildlife research
Porcupines damage
 softwood trees by
 stripping off bark, so
 it’s good to have a
predator that helps
keep them in check,
Etter said. Fishers
 rarely attack people
 unless they have
rabies or some other
disease. But they’re
 fierce when taking
on fellow mammals.
“All the members of
that family have
attitudes. They think
they’re much bigger
 than they actually are,”
 Etter said. “Even
 tiny weasels are
extremely aggressive.”

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