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Rewilding Pennsylvania

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I’ve spent more than my share of time in rural western Pennsylvania and the only way to describe it is as a beautiful and surprisingly wild place with an aging, declining, and, uh, problematic population. So it’s a bit more fun to think about the wild of Pennsylvania and the people, unless you are a lazy New York Times columnist seeking opinions about Real American from the loudmouths at any given diner. So let’s focus on something cool, like rewilding the region.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is going to host meetings for residents to learn about a mammal it may attempt to reintroduce to the state.

The American marten, according to the Game Commission, “disappeared” from Pennsylvania more than 120 years ago. The commission has been exploring the possibility of bringing martens back and said it found “martens would have sufficient habitat and pose little to no risk to other species.”

“… the American marten once was a common native species that inhabited forested areas within the state. The marten, belonging to the mustelid family, is the same size as the American mink having a similar length to a fox squirrel.

Martens are true omnivores eating a large diversity of mammals, plants, insects, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish. The largest portion of their diet is made up of rodents, plant material and insects.”

The Game Commission has finished a “Reintroduction Feasibility Assessment” for American martens. The commission is now drafting a plan for reintroduction.

I’ve seen these a few times when hiking in Oregon and Idaho. They are cool as hell. Basically, they are like silly kittens or otters in the way they play. If you see two of them together, they will be doing ridiculous, photo-friendly things (if they stay still long enough to get a good picture). So yeah, they are a nice add to restore the ecosystem. Even if they weren’t so damn cute, they would be a nice add. But they are damn cute.

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