Fisher Team

What We're Working on Now

Pacific Southwest Research Station (PSW) Sugar Pine Fisher Project Update

March 15th, 2014

By: Tessa Smith

Things have been moving right along here on the Sugar Pine fisher project since our last update. The project transitioned smoothly from UC Berkeley SNAMP project to the PSW research branch of the Forest Service in November of last year, and we have secured funding through 2016 to continue with our research.

Trapping Season: Today concluded our 7th successful trapping season. With our study area slightly scaled down to encompass solely the Key Watershed area, we were able to capture 14 fishers (6 males and 8 females), and safely fit them with radio tracking collars to monitor their locations and daily activity patterns.

To date, the study has collared a total of 113 fishers: 48 males and 65 females.

Denning Season: In the next few weeks, we are eagerly awaiting the denning season; when the female fishers will be settling into their various natal and maternal trees, to give birth and raise their kits. Our crew will be closely monitoring them via ground and aerial telemetry. Once the den trees have been identified, we will closely monitor the activity of the females and their kits.

Camera Surveys: We are roughly halfway through our Key Watershed camera surveys for year seven of the study. These cameras are placed randomly in the 134, 1 km² grids that make up the watershed. We continue to use these cameras to detect fisher presence and absence. This data is especially useful for the future management of the forest, as we observe fisher response to a variety of fuels treatments that have been conducted over the last few years.

Carcass Retrieval: In 2013 we had a total of 12 collared fisher deaths (8 males and 4 females). On February 26th, one of our largest males was found dead, just outside of the Key Watershed area, making this our first mortality of 2014. Thanks to our stellar crew in the air and on the ground we were able to recover his carcass very soon after he died. The carcass was fully intact, and he did not appear to have been killed by a predator, but we will need to wait for an official necropsy to determine the cause of death.

Aerial Telemetry: With the help of the Pacific Southwest Regional Aviation Group the fisher study continues to be supported with five aerial telemetry flights per week. One of those weekly flights now goes to support fisher research based out of the Dinkey Creek Work Center, near Shaver Lake, CA.

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Discussion

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Kim_Ingram said at 11:21 a.m., 20 September 2012 ,

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Kim_Ingram said at 11:36 a.m., 6 September 2012 ,

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