Outdoor Radio: Searching for the Elusive American Marten

American Marten / © David Hall

The American Marten is about the size of a mink with a bushy tail trailing a long body, short legs and a thick, fur coat. They can be brownish or reddish in color and have a light, buffy patch of fur around their throat. Their pronounced eyebrows give them a quizzical look. Deforestation and over-harvesting brought the marten to the brink of extinction by 1900 in some locations. In the late 1980’s, marten were reintroduced in the southern Green Mountains of Vermont. But was it successful?

In this month’s episode of Outdoor Radio, we join three biologists that work with American Marten conservation and recovery; Kim Royar and Katy Crumley of the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department and Scott Wixsom from the Green Mountain National Forest. We traveled by car, snowmobile and finally snowshoes, through snow squalls deep into the southern Green Mountain National Forest in search of the elusive American Marten. Discover how, against the odds, the American Marten has made a comeback in the southern Green Mountain National Forest.

The team poses with the game camera which is mounted to the Yellow Birch tree and points to a bait station comprised of sardines on the snow, a can of sardines punctured and wired to a tree to get the animal to linger for images, and some smelly skunk lure. Right to Left: Sara Zahendra, Kim Royer, Scott Wixsom, Kent McFarland, and Katy Crumley.

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More images

Katy Crumley showing us the map of marten locations and territories and where we are headed to check a camera trap. / © K.P. McFarland

Last year, an American Marten visited a camera trap nearby, climbing the tree seeking the sardine can. / image courtesy of Vermont Fish & Wildlife

In late winter, two were captured on the camera.  / image courtesy of Vermont Fish & Wildlife

The camera we checked had a visitor. A Fisher had eaten the sardines on the ground and then climbed up the tree to get the canned sardines. /  image courtesy of Vermont Fish & Wildlife

The Fisher left teeth marks in the can and some nice photographs on the camera. The large punctures are made by the biologists to let the smell of sardines out and keep the animal busy for a few minutes for the camera to capture images. / © K.P. McFarland

Outdoor Radio is produced in collaboration with Vermont Public Radio.

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