We are excited to report that the American fisher (Martes pennant) study at BRNP continues into Autumn/Winter 2016. To re-cap, the study began in February 2016, after a second winter of anecdotal reports from hunters of seeing a large, dark “otter-like” animal running across the forest floor. In the early part of the 20th century, the American fisher was extirpated from this region due to over hunting for its pelt as well as large scale timber harvesting. A small scale reintroduction into West Virginia took place in 1969. Since hunter reports at BRNP remained consistent, preserve manager, Ron Circe’ approached the Friends of Banshee Reeks and FOBR purchased 15 Moultrie wildlife cameras. With the assistance of Michael Manning (Virginia Master Naturalist/Banshee Reeks Chapter, 2011) who has field experience with camera trapping, Kathy Neal (VMN/Banshee Reeks Chapter, 2014), and an intern from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, 15 cameras were installed and monitored over the winter of 2016.
We are using a specialized scent lure, painted on the tree, made
from synthetic and natural musk. It’s very pungent odor is doing a great job of
attracting wildlife, although no confirmed sightings to date. We are currently gearing up for the fall/winter 2016/2017
season, as we await to see whether the Fisher may be more active in colder
weather in this southeastern part of their range. We are keeping our fingers
crossed and will keep everyone posted!
Stay Tuned for more updates from FOBR Board Member and Virginia Master Naturalist, Kathy Neal