Remote camera stations in Gifford Pinchot National Forest caught the attention of these hungry black bears and Pacific fishers.
Fishers, sometimes called fisher cats, are not cats at all. They are small, forest-dwelling, carnivorous mammals in the weasel family.
“Pekania pennanti, or the Pacific fisher, disappeared from Washington state early in the last century. This housecat-size member of the weasel family was trapped for its fine fur and suffered from the loss of the old growth forests it prefers; it now resides on the Washington state endangered species list,” said a post from Gifford Pinchot National Forest on Facebook.
Many fishers in Mount Rainier National Park and in Gifford Pinchot have been released by the state.
“Since 2010, a diverse coalition of organizations, agencies, tribes and individuals have been working to reintroduce fishers to Washington state in various key locations,” the post said.
The wildlife camera stations are set up by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in order to monitor the population. And occasionally, they provide a fun glimpse at other forest wildlife, such as the black bear.
Using the stations, Fish and Wildlife can determine whether or not to supplement the fisher population with additional Pacific fisher translocations. The goal is to eventually recover the species to a place where it can be self-sustaining.
So far, the post said, these efforts have shown fishers have been successful in establishing themselves and have begun to reproduce.
“Remote camera stations that are triggered by motion or heat sensors are being increasingly used to monitor wildlife populations around the world,” the forest service wrote in response to a question on Facebook. “They are usually, but not always, baited with a scent lure. Remote camera stations are a valuable tool for wildlife biologists because they can detect the presence of rare species, such as fisher and wolverine, that are not commonly seen or may be mostly nocturnal.”