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Rehabilitation of a Species: The Black-Footed Ferret (Mustela nigripes)

January 1, 1991

Black-footed ferrets (Mustela nigripes) are an endangered carnivore endemic to North America.  This small nocturnal member of the weasel family is totally dependent on the prairie dog (Cynomys spp.) ecosystem for survival.  The ferret lives in prairie dog burrows and relies on prairie dogs for 90 percent of its diet (3,21).  Poisoning of prairie dogs was largely responsible for the 98 percent reduction in geographic distribution of prairie dogs; concurrently, black-footed ferret numbers plummeted.  Recently, only a single known population of black-footed ferrets remained.  In 1985 that popuation, located near Meeteetse Wyoming, succumbed to an outbreak of canine distemper, and the few remaining ferrets were taken into captivity in an attempt to save the species through captive progation.

Publication Year 1991
Title Rehabilitation of a Species: The Black-Footed Ferret (Mustela nigripes)
Authors Brian Miller, Dean E. Biggins, Lou Hanebury, Courtney Conway, Chris Wemmer
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Index ID 70174807
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Fort Collins Science Center