MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK, Wash. (AP) — Pacific fishers have declined on the West Coast over the decades, but the forest-dwelling, weasel-like mammals are slowly making a comeback in Washington state.

Officials released 10 Pacific fishers into the forest of Mount Rainier National Park on Friday as part of a multiyear effort to restore them to their historic range.

The rare, elusive carnivores once were found throughout many forested areas of the West Coast. But they declined in numbers due to trapping and the loss of forest habitats.

Population estimates of West Coast fishers today are anywhere from a couple of hundred to a few thousand.

The reintroduction effort comes as conservation groups have sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over a decision not to protect the mammals as a threatened species.

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