Despite vocal opposition from the public and conservation groups ForestEthics and Sierra Forest Legacy, California will soon move 40 Pacific fishers from a healthy habitat along the North Coast to land owned by logging company Sierra Pacific Industries along the Southern Cascades.
The California Department of Fish and Game’s stated intention is to rebuild colonies of the small mammals that have long vanished, but conservationists argue that the likelihood of success is slim. Sierra Pacific Industries is notorious for their harsh, pesticide-laden logging practices, so some worry the animal will not thrive on their land.
The fisher is a rare species that while is not considered threatened or endangered on federal or California endangered species lists, is under consideration to be added due to their sharp decline from trapping, mining, logging, and wildfires.
According to the agreement, Sierra Pacific Industries would not have to change their logging practices if the fisher were added to the endangered species list. They get a full exemption from all the requirements such a listing would normally carry.
“This ‘extraordinary rendition’ of the Pacific Fisher is a dangerously misguided idea,” said Josh Buswell of ForestEthics. “Imagine the state capturing California Sea Otters from Monterey Bay and plopping them down at the Port of Los Angeles. The displacement of the Fisher is, sadly, no less foolish.”
Photo courtesy of Sierra Forest Legacy