Fisher Research in Northeast Minnesota

A male fisher walks along a ridgeline at night.

Fisher Project Overview:

Fishers are adaptable predators which have diets consisting of small mammals, rodents, birds, reptiles, spiders, insects, and some plants (Zielinski, 1999). According to a recent article in the Minnesota Conservation Volunteer magazine, the species population has decreased by roughly half since 2002 (Spring, 2019 & Joyce, 2019). According to furbearer research scientist John Erb (with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources), the decline of fishers can likely be attributed to habitat loss and change. It has been hypothesized that a general lack of large diameter trees in the northeast Minnesota forested landscape may be threatening long-term fisher population survival (Spring, 2019). Artificial den boxes are being monitored to determine whether their installation could help supplement for a lack of larger diameter cavity-potential trees on the local landscape.            

What can YOU do to help the effort? 

-- If you own land with suitable fisher habitat, or know someone who does, consider building your own Fisher box! Contact the NRRI for further instructions.

-- If you capture images of a fisher on your trail camera, please consider sharing them with Wildlife Ecologist, Micael Joyce of the NRRI. 

-- If you are a trapper, please follow the State's Furbearer regulations and register any animals harvested. 

-- Keep yourself informed and follow along by visiting the NRRI web-page

-- View the Minnesota Conservation Volunteer Magazine article, New Dens for Fishers.

An American marten at a carnivore monitoring station

A fisher at a carnivore monitoring station

Literature Cited:

Joyce, Michael. (2019). Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF) M.L. 2019 ENRTF Work Plan (Main Document). Subd. 03i

Spring, Joe. (2019). Field Notes: New dens for fishers. Minnesota Conservation Volunteer Magazine (MCV)

Zielinski, W.J., Duncan, N.P, Farmer, C.F., Truex, R.L, Clevenger, A.P. & Barrett, R.H. (1999). Diet of fishers (Martes pennanti) at the southernmost extent of their range. J. Mammal. 80, 961–971.

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