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6 August 2021 DIET COMPOSITON OF FISHERS (PEKANIA PENNANTI) REINTRODUCED ON THE OLYMPIC PENINSULA, WASHINGTON
Patricia J Happe, Shelby H Pace, Laura R Prugh, Kurt J Jenkins, Jeffrey C Lewis, Joan Hagar
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Abstract

Knowledge of diet composition can inform management strategies and efforts to recover endangered carnivore populations in vacant portions of their historic ranges. One such species, the Fisher (Pekania pennanti), was extirpated in Washington State prior to any formal documentation of its food habits in the coastal coniferous forests of western Washington. Fisher recovery efforts in Washington, based on translocating Fishers from extant populations, have been ongoing since 2008, beginning with the release of 90 Fishers on Washington's Olympic Peninsula from 2008 to 2010. We collected fecal samples or digestive tracts from 13 Fishers opportunistically on the Olympic Peninsula from 2009 through 2013. Subsequently, we identified the species composition of each sample's contents to determine the primary foods consumed by the reintroduced Fishers. Fisher diets were diverse and dominated by mammalian prey. Contents of feces and digestive tracts of Fishers were composed primarily of Snowshoe Hare (Lepus americanus) remains, followed by lesser proportions of Mountain Beavers (Aplodontia rufa), Northern Flying Squirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus), Douglas Squirrels (Tamiasciurus douglasii), Southern Red-backed Voles (Myodes gapperi), shrews (Sorex spp.), and unidentified ungulate species. The diet of Fishers comprised species that occur across a wide range of land uses and management prescriptions, including previously logged forests and mature forests that have been set aside for retention of old-growth forest characteristics. Additional study of prey abundance and Fisher foraging behaviors related to structural habitat characteristics across a gradient of land uses would provide useful insights for enhancing the effectiveness of conservation efforts to benefit Fishers in Pacific Northwest coastal forests.

Patricia J Happe, Shelby H Pace, Laura R Prugh, Kurt J Jenkins, Jeffrey C Lewis, and Joan Hagar "DIET COMPOSITON OF FISHERS (PEKANIA PENNANTI) REINTRODUCED ON THE OLYMPIC PENINSULA, WASHINGTON," Northwestern Naturalist 102(2), 97-108, (6 August 2021). https://doi.org/10.1898/NWN20-08
Received: 16 March 2020; Accepted: 12 October 2020; Published: 6 August 2021
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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KEYWORDS
diet
fisher
foods
Olympic National Park
Pekania pennanti
prey
Washington
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