Mourad Gabriel, a UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory researcher and president of the Integral Ecology Research Center. “In
Exposure to the poison was high throughout the fisher populations studied, complicating efforts to pinpoint direct sources. The fishers, many of which had been radio-tracked throughout their lives, did not wander into urban or agricultural environments. However, their habitat did overlap with illegal marijuana farms.
Gabriel said fishers may be an “umbrella” species for other forest carnivores. In ecology, an umbrella species is one that, if protected, results in protection of other species, as well.
“If fishers are at risk, these other species are most likely at risk because they share the same prey and the same habitat,” said Gabriel. “Our next steps are to examine whether toxicants used at illegal marijuana grow sites on public lands are also indirectly impacting fisher populations and other forest carnivores through prey depletion.”