Washington, DC – Federal budget cuts could have a detrimental effect on the recovery of the black-footed ferret. Mike Lockhart is a Laramie-based recovery coordinator for the US Fish and Wildlife Service. He says an expected budget crunch could be "pretty dire" for the ferret, which was once declared extinct, until a colony was found near Meeteetse, Wyoming. Lockhart says biologists have made substantial progress in helping the species bounce back, but he says the financial squeeze could set back the program. The Fish and Wildlife Service's Denver office says the black-footed ferret program actually requires a 25% increase in funding just to keep it afloat. Congress is currently debating the Interior Department budget and the entire endangered species budget could see reductions.