BEACON TRANSCRIPT – As the US Fish and Wildlife Service has just announced that West Coast fishers are no longer considered for federal protection, many conservation groups consider this a bad move. In other words, federal agencies will not take the fisher into consideration for the “endangered” status.
In spite of this news, West Coast fishers have dwindled in numbers until reaching an alarming rate in 2014. This is when the US Fish and Wildlife Service proposed the species to be listed under the Endangered Species Act under the status of “threatened”. The animals are terribly affected by pesticide use and logging.
However, the federal agency seems to have reconsidered its opinion and has stated that risks faced by West Coast fishers are not so high as to threaten its numbers. As a result, the species will have to survive without the protections offered by the Endangered Species Act. According to the Pacific Southwest Region service director, Ren Lohoefener,
“We arrived at our decision following a comprehensive evaluation of the science and after a thorough review of public input. The best available science shows current threats are not causing significant declines to the West Coast populations of fisher and that listing is not necessary at this time to guarantee survival.”
The fishers belong to the family that also includes otters, weasels, and mink, and inhabits the forests of the United States and Northern Canada. However, it is also present in the Pacific Coast, Rocky and Appalachian Mountains. Sadly, the animals suffered terribly in the nineteenth century and at the beginning of the 1900s because of urbanization, logging, and trapping. As reported by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, West Coast fishers now occupy only one fraction of their historical territory.
There are several organizations that disagree with this decision. The Center for Biological Diversity has pointed out that alleged politics are to blame for this change of mind, and not at all science. According to them, there are only three hundred fishers left in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range and a group that has between 250 and a few thousand animals in Northern California and southern Oregon.
However, hope remains for the fishers, as there are quite a few public and private voluntary efforts of aiding the species.
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