Product Type: Science Feature
Author(s): Godbey, J
Godbey, J. 2005. FORT researchers meet the challenges of re-establishing the endangered black-footed ferret. http://www.fort.usgs.gov/resources/research_briefs/BFF.asp.
This publication is available from the USGS Fort Collins Science Center .
More than twenty years have passed since the discovery, in 1981, of the last known wild population of black-footed ferrets near the small town of Meeteetse, Wyoming. This secretive, nocturnal member of the weasel family was thought to be extinct, or nearly so. The black-footed ferret was known to be very dependent on large colonies of prairie dogs, but little else was known about these rarely seen animals. What started with excitement over their discovery, however, soon degraded into a frantic effort to save the last of a dying population. Distemper and plague, both introduced diseases, were discovered on the prairie dog colony that supported the ferret population. Between 1981 and 1987 the Meeteetse ferret population dropped from an active community consisting of many family groups to only 14 individuals captured to save the species. Those 14 animals became the future of the black-footed ferret recovery program...
Recovery of the black-footed ferret: progress and continuing challenges--Proceedings of the Symposium on the Status of the Black-footed Ferret and Its Habitat, Fort Collins, Colorado, January 28-29, 2004