Wild-Born Black-Footed Ferret Kits Found Outside Of Meeteetse

Sep 8, 2017

Black-footed Ferret
Credit J. Michael Lockhart / USFWS

Wyoming biologists have spotted the first wild-born black-footed ferrets in over 35 years. They were found this week at a ranch outside of Meeteetse. The Game and Fish Department introduced a large number of black-footed ferrets at two ranches there last summer in hopes of developing self-sustaining populations.

The species is considered one of the most endangered mammals on the continent, even thought extinct for much of the 20th century. They’re also one of Wyoming’s six endangered animal species. But now, there are two sites in Wyoming that can boast successful habitats: Shirley Basin and an area outside of Meeteetse.

Zach Walker, supervisor for Wyoming Game and Fish's black-footed ferret program, said that’s a big deal. 

“With reproduction going on there, we’re showing different areas of the state can support these black-footed ferrets and going towards meeting our recovery goals,” Walker said. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service set the recovery goal at 341 ferrets in the state. Walker added the department will continue developing the Meeteetse sites to best suit the ferrets' survival. That will include releasing smaller numbers of individuals into the population through next year.