Survey Yosemite’s Rare Mammals - 2015

Motion-capture cameras help rangers track Yosemite’s rare mammals, including Sierra Nevada red foxes

The Pacific fisher and the Sierra Nevada red fox are two of Yosemite’s rarest carnivores, and as a result, little is known about their populations in the park or the amount of suitable habitat available. The Pacific fisher is a medium-size mammal that lives in forest environments but has disappeared from more than half its former range in California. The Sierra Nevada red fox is one of only two native species of fox in Yosemite.

With your support, Yosemite scientists used more than 130 motion-sensitive cameras to search for evidence of these rare mammals. In January 2015, the project team discovered a camera image of a Sierra Nevada red fox — the first sighting of the species in Yosemite in 99 years. The cameras also resulted in three detections of Pacific fishers, and captured images of many of the species that share the animals’ wilderness habitats, including mountain lions, gray foxes and pine martens.  This research helps scientists monitor and learn about Yosemite’s rare mammals, and informs efforts to protect the two species within and beyond park borders.

Read our October 2015 blog post about heading into the Yosemite Wilderness for a field survey with the research team.

Your contribution allowed scientists to capture rare glimpses of two of Yosemite’s most elusive animals and collect valuable information to guide wildlife management plans.

Completed in partnership with Yosemite National Park, California Department of Fish & Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service and University of California, Davis.

More Wildlife Management Projects

Project Notes
Rangers are tracking Yosemite’s rare mammals, like this Pacific fisher

Yosemite Conservancy funded a remote camera survey effort from 2009-2011 for Pacific fisher. This data continues to be used by researchers and managers today. Wildlife crossing structures on the Wawona Road were informed by this data. This project expands the area surveyed for fishers and in targeted high elevation areas for red fox.

Travis Espinoza
Wildlife Biologist
Yosemite National Park