The Pacific fisher formerly lived in old-growth forests throughout the Pacific Northwest. But due to a combination of logging and historic fur-trapping, the fisher is now gone from all of Washington, most of Oregon and half its range in California. In 2004, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that the fisher warrants protection as a threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), but refused to finalize such protection.
A timber mill and an anti-wildlife group have been working to undermine this "warranted but precluded" finding ever since. But following an intervention by Earthjustice on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Forest Legacy, NRDC and the Sierra Club, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals turned down their appeal.
The ruling ensures the Pacific fisher remains on the waiting list for ESA protection. It's now one of 249 species for which such protection has been delayed by the FWS.