Fishers (Pekania pennanti) are a species of conservation concern in central British Columbia for which distribution and abundance information is needed to help guide conservation efforts. We conducted a DNA-based spatial capture-recapture study in the Bridge River watershed to gain a better understanding of their density in the dry forests at the southwestern edge of the species' range in the province. We established and monitored baited hair traps at 152 sites spread throughout 771.4 km2 over 4 mo in early 2012, detecting 8 individual Fishers (3 females, 5 males) at 16 different sites. We used spatially explicit capture-recapture methods to estimate the density of Fishers to be 13.1 Fishers/1000 km2 (95% CI: 6.3 to 27.4 Fishers/1000 km2) when we constrained the plausible sampling area to biogeoclimatic zones that are known to support Fishers. This study provides resource managers and trappers with a snapshot of local Fisher densities at the southern edge of the species range in British Columbia that will help estimate sustainable harvest levels and refine the estimate of the provincial population of Fishers.
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Vol. 102 • No. 3