(WHTM) — The Pennsylvania Game Commission is looking to reintroduce a mammal that is rarely seen in the forests of Pennsylvania: the American Marten.

The Marten are small and agile members of the weasel family, according to the ZooAmerica website. They prefer mixed wood forests, which provide important prey habitat, protection from predators as well as denning sites. They are considered omnivores and feed off berries and insects as well as small mammals and birds.

The Game Commission states that these animals do not threaten animals such as wild turkeys or the ruffed grouse.

Historically, martens were common in the forests that covered much of North America and Pennsylvania. However, due to the loss of habitat in the 20th century, the creature is now found in Canada and Alaska, northern New England and the Great Lakes region, and south through the Rocky Mountain and Sierra Nevada Mountain ranges. 

At the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners meeting in July of 2022, the Bureau of Wildlife management was directed to develop a reintroduction plan for the Amercian Marten. The commission states that the Marten plays a key role in seed dispersal and rodent population management and that restoring the community will create a healthier forest environment.

The board is scheduled to meet during the afternoon hours on Friday, Jan. 27, to update the progress of the plan to the public.