Cornell and DEC to survey state fisher population

Biologists from Cornell University and the state Department of Environmental Conservation are doing a large-scale survey of fisher populations across the southern tier of central and western New York.

The results will help in the development of a comprehensive fisher management plan.

Fishers are large, dark members of the weasel family, about the size of a house cat. Their numbers declined severely in the early 1900s because of over-trapping and clearing of forests. Now they can be found in the forests of northern, eastern and southeastern New York, and in recent years have begun to return to the southern tier of central and western New York.

Biologists set up digital trail cameras and bait at survey locations this winter. Preliminary results documented fishers at 54 percent of 100 survey locations during the first month.