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Fishers Making a Comeback in Ohio: Pregnant Female Found, Population Expected to Grow


COLUMBUS, Ohio (February 27, 2024) – Exciting news for Ohio wildlife enthusiasts! The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife has confirmed that a fisher, a mammal previously thought to be absent from the state, was found pregnant in Ashtabula County.

Fishers are medium-sized carnivores related to weasels and otters. They were driven out of Ohio in the mid-1800s, but sightings have been increasing in recent years. This discovery of a pregnant female suggests fishers are successfully establishing themselves in the state again.

Since 2013, there have been 40 confirmed fisher sightings in nine northeast Ohio counties. Two-thirds of these sightings happened in the past three years, indicating a growing population. Fishers are likely moving westward from neighboring Pennsylvania, naturally recolonizing Ohio’s suitable habitats.

The ODNR Division of Wildlife studies wildlife populations, including fishers. They collect roadkill animals when possible to understand their health and genetics. The analysis of one such roadkill fisher revealed it was pregnant, raising hopes for natural reproduction in the near future.

The public plays a vital role in monitoring Ohio’s wildlife. If you see a fisher, black bear, badger, weasel, or bobcat, report your sighting with photos or videos through the HuntFish OH app or at wildohio.gov. For roadkill fishers, please contact your local county wildlife officer. It is important to remember that collecting roadkill is illegal.

This discovery signifies a positive step towards restoring Ohio’s biodiversity. The return of fishers enriches the state’s ecosystem and offers exciting opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts and conservationists alike.