The third and final planned black-footed ferret release near Meeteetse will happen sometime this September.
As part of the standard procedure of reintroducing the weasel-like animal to an area, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department follows up the initial release with two subsequent releases to bolster the population.
Zack Walker, the non-game project supervisor with Game and Fish, said the department will decide if an additional release is needed by monitoring the population and reproduction rate.
“If we can verify that we’re getting different age groups as we go through time, we’ll know that it's becoming a self-sustaining population,” he said.
The black-footed ferret was thought to be extinct until one was spotted near Meeteetse in the 1980s. Walker said he thinks they are thriving because they were returned to the area.
“All the genes that make the ferrets able to survive successfully in the wild are adapted to that area,” he said.
The release date is still tentative because the ferret pups are going through preconditioning to make sure they can survive in the wild.