Almost extinct in the ’70s, black-footed ferrets celebrate 25 years since their rediscovery
We get all sorts of interesting press releases here. Some informative, some less-informative, others amusing and random. According to this one, today marks the 25th anniversary of the rediscovery of the black-footed ferret. It came with a complete history of the ferret, as well as charts, graphs, and contact information for prominent ferret experts.
The black-footed ferret, which is the only species of ferret native to the United States, was believed to be extinct back in 1979, after the last known ferret died in captivity. But on September 26, 1981, a fortuitous run-in with a ranch dog led investigators to the last remaining ferret colony in the United States.
As of 1985, there were 18, but since then their ranks have swelled to nearly 700, though they still remain an endangered species. The problem plaguing the ferrets, however, is the pressure development has put on their food source. They feast almost exclusively on prairie dogs, and live in vacated prairie dog burrows, and with the dogs being shot, poisoned, and evicted at rapid rates, the remaining ferrets are left hungry.
Anyway, if you should happen upon a black-footed ferret today, be sure to give it a high-five. Well, a low-five perhaps. And maybe a sandwich.