Fish & Wildlife Service Doesn’t Care About the Humboldt Marten

Humboldt Marten

The Humboldt Marten (martes caurina humboldtensis) is a stealthy, cat-sized forest carnivore in the weasel family (related to minks and otters). The Humboldt marten is so rare that it was thought extinct until rediscovered in 1996.

These extremely secretive animals are known for their slinky walking motion and ability to prey on porcupines by biting them on the face. Typically about two feet long, with large, triangular ears and a long tail, they eat small mammals, berries and birds, and are preyed on by larger mammals and raptors.

Due to extensive clearcut logging and short rotation forestry on low-lying coastal forests on private lands which have replaced the diverse native forests of Northern California and Southern Oregon with oversimplified tree plantations, the marten has been eliminated from 95 percent of its historic range.

In order to save this unique carnivore from oblivion, EPIC petitioned the Fish and Wildlife Service to list the Humboldt marten under the Endangered Species Act. Today’s decision is a blow to marten conservation in Northern California.