Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Rare coastal martens under high risk of extinction in coming decades

Date:  April 4, 2018
Source:  Oregon State University

The coastal marten, a small but fierce forest predator, is at a high risk for extinction in Oregon and northern California in the next 30 years due to threats from human activities, according to a new study.

The study, published today in the online journal PeerJ, will be available to federal and state wildlife agencies for their consideration to determine whether distinct geographic population segments of the coastal marten warrant state or federal listing as threatened or endangered, said Katie Moriarty, a certified wildlife biologist and lead co-author on the study.

"Martens are like the river otters of the woods," Moriarty said. "But they can be vicious little critters, too. When you capture one and it's growling at you from inside a cage, there is no mistaking its intent. They're the size of kittens and act like they'll attack a pit bull."

Some threats to coastal martens include trapping and being hit by cars, said Moriarty, an Oregon State University graduate now with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station. Martens are trapped for their fur throughout Oregon with no bag limit.

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