Other Mammals - Sounds Wild


Download Episode: Fisher (MP3 file 1,408 kB)



A strange call carries through the night near the Taku River in northern Southeast Alaska. It's a fisher, a cat-size weasel, the larger cousin to the marten and the mink.

Fishers are found in forests across northern North America, from Maine to British Columbia, but the fisher was not historically documented in Alaska. Since the mid-1990s, the fisher has expanded its range into the southern Yukon, and into Southeast Alaska.

The first fisher documented in Alaska was in 1997, just north of Juneau. Biologists suspect the animal accessed the coast from known populations in British Columbia via the Taku River corridor, as the southeast coastline is otherwise separated from BC by mountains and icefields. Between 1997 and 2018, 25 more fisher were documented, all in the Juneau area of northern Southeast Alaska. The animals are expanding their range north and south of the Taku River, and in recent years the distribution is widening up and down the mainland coastline.

Despite the name, the fisher does not fish or eat fish. They eat hares, birds and large rodents, and Fisher are somewhat renowned as one of the few predators that regularly and successfully kill porcupines.