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The Exchange

Rebroadcast: Opossum, Porcupine, and Fisher: Some Underappreciated N.H. Creatures


We focus on some of New Hampshire's under-appreciated animals: opossum, porcupine, and fisher. They don't grab headlines like the state's larger wildlife, like moose or bear. In fact, they are often viewed as nuisances. But these mammals play an important role in our ecosystem and have had their own recent struggles, including a fatal fungus affecting porcupines and a decline in fisher populations.

Original Air Date: Monday, Oct. 21, 2019


One listener was lucky enough to see this albino porcupine while biking at Bear Brook State Park: 

Listener photo

Meade Cadot, Naturalist Emeritus with the Harris Center for Conservation Education, remembered the first time he saw a fisher:

In 1971, I visited my aunt and uncle at their old farm on the Bristol-Alexandria town line. I can still remember my first morning walk around the meadow at the wood's edge, with Newfound Lake visible in the distance. I sat down under a big tree and wondered what wildlife would have been around two hundred years ago. Then I heard a rustling above me--and not ten feet from me was a handsome creature I'd never seen (or heard of) before. When my Peterson's Field Guide confirmed I had just seen a fisher, I was hooked on New Hampshire. The fisher's need for room to roam has figured prominently in my efforts (helped by many others) to create The SuperSanctuary--now more than 20,000 acres of contiguous protected wildlife habitat in the central Monadnock highlands of the southwestern part of the state.

Credit Bill Thompson / USFWS
The fungal disease in porcupines, discovered in wild North American porcupines in Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, appears similar to this one photographed at the Quabbin Reservoir near Athol, Mass.