Fisher research at NRRI

Fisher released as part of NRRI project

A network of trail cameras and GPS tracking collars will help the DNR follow the creature.

A recent video captured by UMD’s Natural Resources Research Institute shows the slow-motion release of a fisher back into the woods.

Michael Joyce, a wildlife ecologist, is one of two researchers that lead the mammal ecology lab there.

He says the fisher population has been declining in Minnesota, so they are a focal species for research into the causes and conservation tools. Joyce and his colleagues use trail cameras and live traps.

“We use live trapping so that we can put GPS collars on them, and then after we let them go, we can follow them around, see where they’re spending their time,” Joyce said.

The video of the live trap release comes from the southern half of the state, where the fisher population has expanded.

The data NRRI collects can help ecologists, land managers, and the DNR.

“I think there’s a few things that the data tells us. One is just how they’re adapting to use the landscape that has more human impact and is a little more fragmented. So how are they carving out a living, what possibility is it for them to adapt to human activities and for us to coexist,” Joyce explained.

The other important result is to have good baseline information about how many fishers there are in an area and where exactly they live and reproduce.

The research is funded by the Minnesota Environment & Natural Resources Trust Fund.