UPDATE: Four fishers were released Thursday afternoon and "ran away really well" into habitat around Bedal Campground, about 15 miles southeast of Darrington, said Jeff Lewis, lead biologist on the program with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The new animals are Neville (juvenile male), Katie (juvenile female), Kendra (adult female), and Niffler (large adult male).
For some 75 years, fishers were absent from the forests of the Pacific Northwest. The medium-sized member of the weasel family was snuffed out in Washington by trappers, who coveted its soft fur.
Biologists from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, National Park Service and Conservation Northwest began reintroducing them to the state in 2008 — the result of a longstanding partnership.
Thursday afternoon, the final batch of fishers brought here from Canada was set to dash into habitat near Darrington.
Four of the charismatic weasels were trapped in Alberta and flown in to Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest. They made the journey after veterinarians at the Calgary Zoo screened their health and tagged and collared them.
This was originally supposed to be the final group, but a fifth animal may be coming soon — it had dental problems that have to heal before biologists can re-release it to the wild.
The North Cascades is the third area in the state where fishers are being reintroduced, after the South Cascades and the Olympic Peninsula. Thursday’s release will bring their number to 259.