Improving understanding of habitat loss for furbearers

Project Year: 2019-2020

Multi-year Project

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Photo: Chris Gale Wild North Photos

Project Lead

Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy


Peace Region


Project Type

Research & Information Acquisition

FWCP Contribution


Action Plan Alignment

Species of Interest Action Plan

Project ID


Effects of habitat change on Fisher and marten populations

This project will improve understanding of the abundance, distribution, and trend of furbearing species, including Fisher and marten that have been impacted by significant habitat loss and change (e.g. reservoir creation, logging of beetle-infested forest). The results of this multi-year project will contribute towards functioning and sustainable Fisher and marten populations in the Williston Basin by helping to inform decision-making for continuing conservation.

Update: 207 hair samples collected from fishers and martens to study the effects of habitat change

This project will improve understanding of ambudance, distribution and trend of fur-bearing species. In 2019–2020, spatial data with respect to habitat change in the Williston Basin was compiled, non-invasive genetic sampling of the current fisher and marten populations was conducted, and initial engagement of target audiences begun. Historical and current forest harvest and disturbance spatial data has been compiled for the 2,140 km² study area. Hair-snagging stations were set up at 184 sites among the fisher and marten survey cells. A total of 207 hair samples were collected in 69 of 106 survey cells. Based upon hair colouration and pattern, it is estimated that fisher samples were collected at 16 of those survey cells and marten samples collected at 62 of the survey cells. Analysis of the retrospective data from the year 2000 was started, and engagement of Tsay Keh Dene Nation and trapper communities was initiated.

View more about this project on the provincial database