The adorable cat/bear/ferret-like fisher is in trouble

Once upon a time, a weasel-like animal called a fisher roamed Lane County forests, but now, there are only pockets of fishers left scattered along the West Coast, with anywhere from a few hundred to 4,000 of them in the southern Oregon and northern California population.

According to the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, fishers have slim bodies and short legs, with rounded ears and a bushy tail. Trappers sought after their soft coats in the 18th century, and now habitat loss and rodenticides pose a further threat to the species, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

On Oct. 7, nearly 15 years after receiving the first petition to list the fisher as endangered, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finally proposed that the fisher should be listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. This would give further protections to the fisher, which is currently not protected under Oregon’s Endangered Species Act.

The public can comment on the proposal until Jan. 5, 2015. Comments can be made here.