In recent years, field studies have added new information about existing populations of the Pacific fisher. The question was raised as to whether there is any validity to the anecdotal decline in the abundance of porcupines, and if so, does it contribute to the lack of fishers in areas of previously occupied habitat? Since the porcupine has historically been a prey species for the fisher, the relative abundance or paucity of porcupines in historic fisher habitat could be one factor that affects the fisher.
To attempt to fill the gap of information about the porcupine’s current status, CSERC initiated a yearlong effort in 2011 to collect reports of porcupine sightings in the region that stretches from Lake Tahoe south through the southern end of the Sierra Nevada (Read our 2011 porcupine sighting report).
Our results have indicated that there may indeed be reason for concern over the status of the porcupine in our region. The feedback we have gotten from many public lands biologists is that they share our concern, and our 2011 study has begun to gain widespread attention (see the news article featuring our study in the Sacramento Bee).