Ferrets make comeback

photo:blackfootedferret.org
photo:blackfootedferret.org

Wyoming Game and Fish is continuing its successful work with the recovery of a species once thought extinct. Twenty black-footed ferrets were released last week on the historic recovery site near Meeteetse. Ten male and ten female captive-born ferrets joined their kin on the ground, adding another chapter to Wyoming’s work on endangered species recovery. The small mammal was rediscovered in Wyoming 40 years ago.

Now, Game and Fish works to maintain at least 35 individuals at the Meeteetse recovery site, a baseline set by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Game and Fish will continue to carefully monitor the population. The department routinely surveys ferrets in the late summer with eyeshine surveys. 

During the nighttime surveys, biologists search the ground around known burrows with high-powered spotlights, looking for the green glow of a ferret’s distinctive eyeshine. When they see it, they set a trap at the ferret’s burrow. Any wild-born ferrets captured are then vaccinated for distemper and plague and re-released.

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