Project Report: Fisher Translocation

Issue/Problem Statement

Fisher were extirpated from Nova Scotia near the turn of the century. In 1947/48, 12 ranch-raised fisher were released in the Tobeatic Game Sanctuary and from 1963-66, 92 wild fisher from Maine were released into the eastern mainland. The eastern population has been more successful, particularly in recent years, but fisher apparently have not effectively colonized Halifax, Hants, Lunenburg or Kings counties (none have ever been recorded from Cape Breton) and the populations appear to remain geographically disjunct. The western population may have done poorly for genetic reasons (ranch stock, low number of animals released) and it would appear desirable to join the two populations together to expand the distribution and provide for gene flow.

Objective

To transfer fisher from areas of high population in Cumberland, Colchester and Pictou counties to locations between the two population centers and obtain samples from both populations (about 20) in order to test for genetic differences.

Methods

Trappers will live-trap fisher in cage traps. They will be transported to Shubenacadie Wildlife Park, marked with tetracycline and transferred to the release site. Samples from accidentally trapped animals will be stored for DNA analysis.

Partners

Trappers Association of Nova Scotia, Canadian Parks Service, and Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forestry Regional Services.

Project Dates and Duration

Fall - Winter, number of years unknown.

Progress to Date

Five fishers were released in Lunenburg county in March, 1994; this project was activated in 1999. DNA samples were collected from animals harvested during the 1997-98 season. As of January 2001, 23 fisher have been re-located to locations in Halifax, Hants, and Kings Counties.

Reporting

Periodic departmental progress reports, and N.S. Trappers Newsletter.

Management Recommendations

Transfer enough animals to establish viable population in area between eastern and western populations and collect tissue samples from accidental captures for DNA analysis. Seek other partners to assist with further translocations.

Final Report: Unknown

Completion Dates: Unknown