Tribe’s dataset aids in estimating fishers

The Hoopa Valley Tribe has been tracking fishers in Northern California since 2005. Credit: Matthew Zalewski

Fishers are not the easiest mammals to keep tabs on. But in Northern California, the Hoopa Valley Tribe’s wildlife division has been capturing and studying them since 2005, creating one of the longest-running datasets of fishers in North America.

When the tribe began managing its own forests, it reduced logging and started monitoring for fishers (Martes pennanti). Biologists discovered that fishers continued to occupy remaining stands. Division staff members have used radio collars and microchips to track fisher movements and map out territories. Their data helped the California Department of Fish and Wildlife estimate fisher numbers.

“If a lot of other people were collecting as much data as well as the Hoopa, then we’d have a better model,” Brett Furnas, a CDFW ecologist, told Undark.

Read more from Undark here.