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Old-Growth Critter Gets Good News

Reversing its August 2008 decision, the California Fish and Game Commission recently voted to grant candidate status to the Pacific fisher under the California Endangered Species Act.

This begins the review process to determine if full protection is warranted.

Earthjustice and our colleagues at Center for Biological Diversity have worked to protect the fisher for many years, so this policy reversal is very good news.

The fisher (Martes pennanti) lives in old growth forests and is a close relative of the marten.

Fishers once lived throughout the Sierra Nevada, northern California, and western Oregon and Washington. However, as a result of logging, trapping and development, the fisher's range has been greatly reduced. Native populations of Pacific fisher have been completely extirpated from Washington and Oregon, and they remain in only 50 percent of their historical range in California.

The fisher is also a candidate for federal protection. In 2000, Earthjustice and the Center submitted a petition to list the Pacific fisher under the federal Endangered Species Act. In 2004, the Bush administration determined that the Pacific fisher warranted protection, but that such protection was precluded by lack of resources.

Earthjustice will encourage the new administration to move quickly to grant the Pacific fisher protection under federal law.

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