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Meet Whatcom’s newest neighbor, who’s pretty darned cute ... until it shows its teeth

They’re about the size of a house cat, are part of the weasel family and look a lot a ferret with a nice, fluffy tail — but these little suckers have got some teeth on them.

Say hello to your newest neighbor, Whatcom County ... or at least an old friend that is moving back in.

The North Cascades National Park Service Complex announced in a press release Thursday that state, federal and partner biologists will release eight fishers this week in the Skagit River watershed of Ross Lake National Recreation Area. The fisher release, which is scheduled for Wednesday morning, is part of an effort to restore the species to Washington state and is the first planned release in the North Cascades.

“We are very excited to be working with federal, tribal, state, international, and other organizations to bring the fisher back to its historical range.” Washington National Park Fund superintendent Karen Taylor-Goodrich said in the press release. “It has been a multi-year restoration effort in the state and we appreciate the supporters who make this possible.”

Over-trapping and habitat loss eliminated fishers from Washington in the mid 1900s, according to the release, and they’re now listed as an endangered species by the state and are being reviewed for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act. Fisher reintroduction efforts recently occurred on the Olympic Peninsula and near Mount Rainier, and the animals adapted and have begun to reproduce.

Fishers are related to wolverines and otters, according to the release, and are native to the Cascade mountain range. Despite what their name might suggest, they prey on various small mammals, including mountain beavers, squirrels, hares and porcupines.

The fishers to be released Wednesday were captured in Alberta, Canada, were checked out by vets at the Calgary Zoo and will be equipped with radio transmitters to track their movements, the release said. Approximately 80 fishers will be released in the North Cascades.

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