Another encounter with North America’s most endangered mammal. I have been pretty fortunate to have seen these little guys a few times over the past six months or so.
Most of the sightings, like this one, have been from a pretty long distance and in poor light. Nevertheless, it is a real treat to see something so rare. This past Saturday, this one was hanging out, hovering over a prairie dog burrow. Unfortunately, it wasn’t too inclined to do much as for more than an hour it did nothing more than what you see in the image – just sit there and look around. Nevertheless, I will take what I can get when it comes to these guys.
Once numerous, the small animals were harvested for the fur trade. That, coupled with a loss of habitat and disease, resulted in a declining population and it was eventually declared extinct in 1979. Two years later, a small population of the animal was discovered on a private ranch in Wyoming and a captive breeding program was launched.
Since then, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been gradually releasing the black-footed ferret in eight states in what was once its native region. It was introduced to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge near Denver, Colorado in October 2015 and by all accounts, the program has been successful.