Monday, October 24, 2016

Conservation Groups Sue to Protect the Forest-Dwelling Fisher

In yet another legal action against the federal agency responsible for protecting endangered wildlife, conservation groups are suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for its failure to protect fishers. A member of the weasel family, the fisher is native to North America’s forests. It has a range covering a great deal of Canada and the northern United States. Due to its size and habitat, the fisher has few natural predators in the wild. In fact, the biggest threat fishers currently face is as a result of human activity. For over ten years, environmental groups have urged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to examine the fisher’s status. They claim that the species faces threats from logging, as well as rodenticide use and incidental capture in fur traps. While the population has appeared relatively stable in some areas, other studies have indicated a growing problem. As a result of consistent campaigning, the Fish and Wildlife service has periodically considered the status of fishers. Most recently — in April of 2016 — the service announced that based on its own review of scientific evidence, the fisher’s current status was not as threatened as had previously been thought. Therefore, the agency concluded that fishers did not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act. Four conservation groups are now challenging that decision in a suit filed with the Northern District of California San Francisco Division...more

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