More fishers – members of the weasel family – are calling the suburbs of Albany home these days, according to this newspaper story.
I wrote a story a few summers ago about how fishers, once gone from the area, are making a comeback. I pasted it after the break. The photo, by TJN photographer Joe Larese, shows Teatown Executive Director Fred Koontz holding a baby fisher found near the Yorktown preserve.
Anyway, what also caught my eye is both the above Albany-area story and the current edition of the Hudson River Almanac (a regular synopsis of various fauna and flora sightings near the river) mention some folks mistake fishers for mountain lions/panthers.
8/14 – Rockland-Bergen Counties, HRM 25-15: It began last winter, maybe even earlier – several reports of large, black cats, always one, sometimes two, as in Sparkill’s Tallman Mountain State Park in March.
Many eyewitnesses believe they are black panthers. Area law enforcement patrols have been increased, cameras have been set to capture nighttime images, and trackers hired to find whatever it is that so many people have been seeing. So far, evidence from the trackers includes scratches on trees and some paw prints that might be from a large cat. With bobcats and bears around, such identification can be problematic. If it is a large cat, it almost certainly would have to be a mountain lion. Oddly, no one has reported a missing mountain lion. However, if it was a deliberate release, that would be expected.
This is the third mountain lion report in the last three months. The first two were in Dutchess County in May and July. Following an investigation, neither produced any evidence other than eyewitness observation. There has been no documented proof of a home-grown wild mountain lion in New York State for over 100 years. It is not impossible that one might someday show up wandering in from Canada or northern New England. What is needed is DNA, from scat, fur, or the animal itself. Even a good, verifiable photo would help with identification. Peter Nye, NYSDEC Endangered Species Unit leader, suspects that if it is not an escaped pet, he’d bet it would be a fisher. A large fisher can be the size of a small mountain lion.
– Tom Lake
Some of you may recall all the talk of a panther possibly roaming Rockland County.
And, speaking of fishers, after the break is my earlier story. Read more of this entry »