WHY HELLO THERE, FISHER KITS: When one ventures into Yosemite National Park, one very often has the appropriate hiking shoes, a flashlight and trail mix, and a booklet or sheet that helps the visitor identify various trees or shrubs or peaks or animals found within the famous destination's borders. And while mule deer and black bears and the golden-mantled squirrel and spotted owls might all get a check next to their column, finding a fisher wouldn't have been on the mind of the animal spotter in Yosemite in recent times. That's all changing, as of mid-September, thanks to the re-introduction, courtesy of a team of biologists, of some fisher kits into the northern area of the national park.
WEASEL-SWEET WONDERS: An initial glance confirms what you likely know -- these cute kits "are members of the weasel family, which includes martens, otters, and wolverines." They're also described by the park as "much larger and much rarer" than long-tailed weasels, so imagining adding that happy check to your list of animals spied in the wild. That is, if you can take a break from awww-ing, gently at a distance, from the sight of these sweet kits.
FOUR IN ALL: The quartet was given free roam "north of the Merced River" on Wednesday, Sept. 16. How they were moved there, through the efforts of the organizations like the U.S. Forest Service and Fresno Wildlife Rehabilitation Foundation, makes for more awww-ing (the kits' mothers were killed by predators). Fishers of the southern Sierra are not a robust and large-of-number grouping, and people lending a hand to help the population stay healthy is happening now. It's a reminder of the dynamic system at work in Yosemite, and the wilderness at large, when we see these successful re-introductions. Want to bone up on your Yosemite fauna knowledge? Bears get a lot of the love -- and their photos on the postcards -- but the valley-waterfall-meadow wonderland teems with species galore. Here's a start, beastie buffs.