Gateway Gazette

Fisher Release Program

Calgary Zoo

This year, local trappers from the Alberta Trappers Association will be helping our Conservation Research team monitor fishers in the wild. A number of trappers will be setting up remote cameras to record fisher behaviour! We hope to assess whether a fisher’s exploratory behaviour is consistent in the wild and in captivity.

The ultimate goal of our behaviour study is to determine whether certain traits are correlated with increased survival and reproduction after releases. And if behaviour is consistent in the wild and captivity, researchers could assess behavioural traits in the wild to determine whether an animal is a good release candidate!

Photo: Paul Bannock

On October 1, the field season began for our fisher conservation project! Local trappers in Alberta set humane live-traps to collect fishers for wild-to-wild translocations. The team at the Calgary Zoo is ready to start processing fishers and determine whether they are good release candidates. During their time at the zoo, each fisher receives a health check, their behaviour is recorded using video surveillance, and they participate in a novel object exploration test. Fishers that are good release candidates will be transported to Washington to be released in the Cascade Mountains to help repopulate that area. This field season, we hope to translocate 60 fishers to Washington!

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