Fishing for a Home   Leave a comment

Just a few days ago we talked about the Pacific Fisher, that there are fewer and fewer of them, and how they’re so important to the forest scientists are sacrificing perfectly good socks to try and research these little guys. Maybe not perfectly good socks, but at least mis-matched socks that no one else wants. Now, we find that the Humboldt pine marten (Martes americana humboldtensis) – another very important forest predator, and related to the Fisher – might be in danger of going extinct – gone forever.

About fifty years ago, scientists thought this type of Pine Marten was already extinct. Because of too much human activity in the places the animals live – forests, along creeks and streams – there hadn’t been a Humboldt Marten seen in a long time and it appeared they were gone. But in 1996 one was sighted, and since then it’s been confirmed there is a small – very small – population of from about 50 to 100 still living in the forests of Northern California and Southern Oregon.

Pine Marten USFWS

"I got nothin' in common with that guy. I don't even WEAR socks."

But we have to remember an important point: The ‘basic’ Pine Marten (Martes americana) is not currently in danger of becoming extinct. You won’t see one every time you go into the forest, but they’re around. However the Humboldt Pine Marten is a subspecies of the ‘standard’ Marten, with only a few remaining. A subspecies is a type of plant or animal that is very similar to another type; not different enough to be considered another species, but still has differences that make it stand out from the main species. These differences are usually specific places where the animals like to live, or specific foods they eat, or even the times of day they go out. They are the same type – or species – but with enough differences that they are not quite the same. Just like you and your cousin are from the same family, and you’re both similar in some ways, but not at all the same. You’re much cooler because you read this site.

So scientists and researchers and others who are concerned about these little Martens are working hard to help them survive. Much of their home has been taken away by men moving into the forest and cutting down trees and building roads, but if we all are smart there’s still enough space for the animals and for humans. The animals don’t have a choice – the forest, or the field, or the river or any of their wilderness homes are the only places they know. But in our actions and choices, we can decide to help make our world a better place for us all.

Posted February 16, 2012 by ECOVIA eco-adventure® in ECOVIA Central

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