The Race Goes to the Swift
The tiny swift fox has got friends in high places: Ted Turner has launched a campaign to save the rare mammal, which is the smallest North American wild dog. Through the Turner Endangered Species Fund, the billionaire media mogul is petitioning South Dakota for permission to trap 180 swift foxes in Wyoming and release them on his ranch in the former state, where they are a threatened species. The fox was once common in much of the United States and Canada, but its numbers have dwindled dramatically due to habitat loss, accidental trapping, shooting, poisoning, and the declining numbers of prairie dogs and ground squirrels, the fox’s prey. The feds acknowledge the fox needs protection, but say they don’t have the funding to help the animal. Ted Turner doesn’t have that problem, but opponents fear his project would lead to future government restrictions on farming and ranching.