Black-Footed Ferrets Making A Comeback

Oct 7, 2016

Credit Kimberly Fraser / USFWS via Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

The reintroduction of black-footed ferrets that took place in July seems to be succeeding. 35 ferrets were set loose in Meeteetse, the area where they were found 35 years ago after they were thought to be extinct. Wyoming Game and Fish recently re-captured 19, and all tested negative for any harmful diseases. Wyoming Game and Fish biologist Nicole Bjornlie said this was a good sign.

"Ferret recovery is really multifaceted. The primary overreaching goal is to get enough populations with enough individuals in each population that they are self-sustaining, that we don't have to go back through and supplement populations," said Bjornlie.

According to Bjornlie, they plan to conduct more surveys next fall to check on the breeding numbers and gain a better idea of the population recovery. 

“Every single ferret that is currently alive is descended from a ferret that lived at Meeteetse, so all of the genetics all of that contribution, we’ve been able to take that and bring that back. It’s pretty spectacular,” said Bjornlie.

This is the second area of reintroduction of the black-footed ferret in Wyoming. The first was in the Shirley Basin in 1991.