Officials release 12 more fishers into Olympic National Park

Twelve fishers were released yesterday in Olympic National Park, continuing a three-year effort to reintroduce the animal to Washington State.

Eight were released in the Graves Creek drainage of the Quinault valley and four in the Bogachiel valley.

About the size of a cat, fishers are members of the weasel family, and are native to the forests of Washington, including the Olympic Peninsula. The species vanished from the state decades ago because of over-trapping in the late 1800s and early 1900s and habitat loss and fragmentation.

Since 2008, 77 fishers have been released in the park, including the 12 released yesterday. Partners in the project hope to release at least 15 more animals about a month from now, which will be the final release for the project.

The goal is to re-establish a self-sustaining population in the park, ONP officials said today.

In order to track the population, each animal wears a small radio transmitter, allowing biologists to track and monitor its movements.

“We began this project with the goal of releasing 100 fishers over the course of three winters,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Karen Gustin. “Thanks to the contributions and support from many partners in both Washington and British Columbia, we are very close to meeting our goal."

Fisher reintroduction to Olympic National Park is made possible through a partnership of agencies and organizations. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Olympic National Park are joint project managers and, along with the U.S. Geological Survey, are leading a research and monitoring program to evaluate the success of the reintroduction.

The British Columbia Ministry of Environment is actively supporting the effort to capture and import fishers to Washington. Nonprofit partners Conservation Northwest, the Doris Duke Foundation and the Wildlife Conservation Society are providing crucial support for this final year of fisher releases.

More information, including monthly updates from the monitoring effort, is available online at

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