Cascade Fisher Reintroduction Project
When the border crossing agent asked what we had I said fishers, and he said fish, and I said no, fishers. He looked really confused. And I said they’re tree wolverines. And he was like, Oh, so don’t open the box? I said no, don’t open the box. They’ve been extinct in Washington since shortly after the great depression and so why would people know what they are here? It’s a really special release at Mount Rainier. The Nisqually Tribe is hosting the First Nations that are coming down from Canada, from where the animals are coming from to where they’re going. Fisher used to be all over this area. They were heavily trapped through the turn of the century because that one pelt was worth an entire year’s salary. And so the fisher reintroduction project was initiated by Conservation Northwest and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife because they listed the species as an endangered species. All of these animals have a transmitter so that we can follow them afterwards and we can track them with the radio receiver from the air. And Fritz is number 39. Can you hear it? That’s his signal and we’ll be able to hear him from the air. My ancestors did come up here and being up here gives us a connection to this mountain. The tribes utilize fisher for decorations on our regalia. We may be taking things from this earth, but you know we want to actually put stuff back. This is who we are now. The beginning of fisher reintroduction occurred in Olympic National Park then we move to the southern Washington Cascades. It’s the first release that happened at Mount Rainier, fulfilling the mission of the National Park Service Our goal for the southern Washington Cascades is to release 80 animals. When we’re finished here, we’ll move to the North Cascades where we’ll release another 80 animals. The habitat was intact, the food resources were intact. This was a simple solution of just bringing the animals that were removed back. Point is to increase that biodiversity. We have a full array of carnivores on the landscape, it’s more resilient. A project like this is impossible without broad collaboration. There’s lots and lots of partners. The sum of the parts is greater than the whole when we work together. This is a shared resource. So when we collaborate and when we have buy-in from all of the parties the project is more successful. That moment when we open the box is, there’s no description. We’re not restoring them because we just want to see them in the woods. We’re restoring them for the next generation and the next generation. It’s a blueprint of what we would like to see the next generation do. I’m only going to be around for so long. We need to have future stewards to continue this work and other conservation work. This is the only place we have to live and these national parks are our most protected places. So what can we do to make a healthy place to live for all of us? It’s all connected It uplifts your spirit. It reassures as a human race that we are doing something great.