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SAVING THE Humboldt marten

A stealthy, cat-sized forest carnivore in the weasel family, the Humboldt marten is so rare that it was thought extinct until rediscovered in 1996. Now, due to extensive logging of coastal old-growth forests in Northern California and Oregon — the only places it’s found — the marten has been eliminated from 95 percent of its historic range. Other threats to the marten abound, including wildfires and loss of genetic diversity due to population separation and a tiny overall population size. Fewer than 100 of these beautiful mammals are known to survive. 

To make sure the Humboldt marten never slips out of human awareness again, in September 2010 the Center filed a scientific petition to protect the species under the federal Endangered Species Act. Although the U.S. Forest Service subsequently said protection may be warranted, the agency missed the deadline to make its next listing decision, so the Center filed a notice of intent to sue in April 2012.

Saving the marten means protecting its habitat and reestablishing population connectivity. Martens are secretive hunters that only move through dense shrub cover or areas with closed forest canopy, so extensive clearcutting has dramatically fragmented their range, isolating populations in Oregon and California.

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KEY DOCUMENTS
2010 Federal Endangered Species Act petition

ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT PROFILE

ACTION TIMELINE

NATURAL HISTORY

MEDIA
Press releases
Search our newsroom for the Humboldt marten

RELATED ISSUES
Carnivore Conservation

Forests
The Endangered Species Act

Contact: Tierra Curry

Humboldt marten photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service