Calgary Zoo celebrates first fisher kit sighting after species reintroduced to Washington State
CALGARY -- Trail cameras have captured the first evidence of fisher kits in Washington State after 89 of the animals were moved stateside from northern Alberta.
As part of a partnership involving the Calgary Zoo, the U.S. National Park Service, Conservation Northwest and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, dozens of the animals were relocated across the border between 2018 and 2020 as part of the effort to reintroduce the species of small, carniverous mammals to the Olympic and Cascade Mountains.
Calgary Zoo officials confirm trail camera footage from April 18 showed a female fisher — known as Luna or F105 — moving four kits at her den in western Chelan County in the North Cascades.
"Bringing a species back to where they had once disappeared is a long and challenging journey, so we’re elated to see fishers from Canada contribute to this important milestone," said José Luis Postigo, Calgary Zoo population ecologist. "As a conservation organization, we’re proud to have contributed our animal care, veterinary, and scientific expertise to this initiative and we celebrate the unwavering support and dedication of all the communities and partners that made this happen."
"Seeing one fisher kit born in the wild North Cascades is a wonder; photos showing a group of wild kits is phenomenal," said Dave Werntz, science and conservation director for Conservation Northwest. "This new family is an auspicious sign that these reintroduced fishers are finding a good home in the North Cascades."
Luna had been captured in northern Alberta, where fishers continue to thrive, and released on Dec, 13, 2018 at a location west of Darrington, WA.
Wild fisher populations were devastated in Washington State in the mid-20th century due to loss of habitat and over-trapping. Officials declared fishers as a state-endangered species in 1998 and there is currently no trapping season designated for the members of the weasel family.