By Mike Koshmrl
Biologists looking for the elusive fisher, a large cousin of the weasel, have come up empty-handed in the Wyoming neck of the Northern Rockies.Habitat models predict that the fisher's range extends well into Teton and Park counties, and south to the very northwest tip of Fremont County. That caused the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to lead a search for the mustelid, which was recently, but is no longer, a candidate for protection under the Endangered Species Act.
"We didn't find any (fishers)," Game and Fish nongame biologist Bob Oakleaf said. "What we did find is (pine) marten everywhere."
Using a $23,000 state wildlife grant, Game and Fish personnel last year searched the Sunlight Basin, near the Beartooth Mountains, just to the east of Yellowstone National Park. In January 1995, a fisher was photographed by a remote camera near this area Remote cameras are the primary method used to find the critters.
Game and Fish isn't quite sure where it will spend a $31,500 wild life grant to try to find the fisher this year, Oakleaf said. The North Fork of the Shoshone River near Cody is a possibility, he said, but a search of Teton County isn't being considered.
Game and Fish's 2010 "Wyoming State Wildlife Action plan" suggests that Teton County south to about Jackson Lake and Buffalo Valley is fisher habitat. The state's plan states that "distribution is suspected to be restricted" and that the species has a spotty distribution in Wyoming. More....