Pennsylvania Considering Reintroducing Pine Martens To State Forests – Vanished From State Around 1900

Pennsylvania’s Game Commission will consider re-introducing the American marten (also known as the pine marten) into the state. Re-introduction of annihilated animals and “de-extinction” are emerging as key efforts to battle extinctions.

Pine martens eat small mammals like squirrels. In turn they face death from other predators including larger weasels. n228_w1150 by BioDivLibrary is licensed under CC-PDM 1.0

Martens were eliminated in Pennsylvania around 1900 by over trapping and deforestation. The Pennsylvania Game Commission’ s Bureau of Wildlife Management has made the formal request. That request will be reviewed in early July. Pennsylvania is home to many hunters and the commission works to protect wildlife with an eye to stewardship of hunting resources.

Bald eagle
Bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) are the national bird. Almost extinct a few decades ago they have made a comeback.

The duality of conservation in Pennsylvania is illustrated in the biography of the director of the bureau, Dr. Matthew Schnupp. He is both an endangered species biologist and a long-time hunter:

“Matthew has worked with an array of game, nongame, waterfowl, vegetation, threatened and endangered species, and diseases like chronic wasting disease. He has experience working with state and federal employees, politicians, researchers, non-profit organizations, and sportsmen. Matthew is a Certified Wildlife Biologist® and his educational background includes a doctorate and a master’s in wildlife science from Texas A&M University-Kingsville and a bachelor’s degree in wildlife and fisheries management from West Virginia University. Matthew developed his love for the outdoors by hunting deer, squirrels, and pheasants in Washington and Greene counties. He spends his free time enjoying the outdoors with his wife Jessica and their two kids.”

Martens (Martes americana) are members of the Mustelidae (weasel) family and are related to badgers, otters and wolverines.

The IUCN considers martens “least concern” and they are widespread in much of Canada and Alaska. In Pennsylvania they are a species state wildlife authorities want to reintroduce. Pennsylvania has been active in reintroduction efforts on a number of species.

<em>Thylacinus cynocephalus</em> (Harris, 1808), Thylacine
Thylacinus cynocephalus (Harris, 1808), Thylacine by Photographer: John Broomfield is licensed under CC-BY 4.0 Museum specimens are about all that remains of Thylacines. Some hope that there is enough DNA to produce a “de-extincted” creature

According to Philly

“This is not the first time the Pennsylvania Game Commission has considered an American marten reintroduction. Another feasibility study was completed in 1996, laying the groundwork for a future initiative.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission’s most successful species reintroduction over the last several decades has been the bald eagle restoration project, which has increased the population from just a few adult pairs in the early 1980s to 300 or more today. Other successful reintroduction plans in the state have included fur-bearing mammals such as river otter, fisher, beaver and bobcat.” Links in original.

Among reintroductions world wide are cheetahs in India and jaguars in parts of South America. “De-extinction” refers to a genetic manipulation of an extinct species and surviving near relatives. The goal is to produce a near-exact replica of the extinct creature. One long-shot candidate is the Thylacine.

Published by ursusrising

long time writer and editor living in Los Angeles

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