Range expansion of Fisher (Pekania pennanti) in Nova Scotia
Keywords:Fisher, Pekania pennanti, range expansion, American Marten, Martes americana, extirpation, trail cameras, snow tracking, ice bridge, causeway, Maritime Canada
Fisher (Pekania pennanti) is a medium-sized mesocarnivore that typically occupies mature hardwood and softwood forest where its preferred prey is abundant. In Nova Scotia, Fisher populations are reported as restricted to the mainland; they have been absent from Cape Breton Island for the past 50–80 years. A record of a Fisher on Cape Breton Island in February 2002 prompted us to collate and analyze other records of Cape Breton Island sightings of the species from that date to May 2021. Based on reported sightings, we conclude that Fisher has extended its range from mainland Nova Scotia, apparently crossing the Strait of Canso, and that a breeding population now exists on Cape Breton Island and is expanding. We also comment on possible negative interactions between this expanding Fisher population and the provincially Endangered American Marten (Martes americana) population on the island.
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