Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Black-footed ferrets to return to former Wyoming stronghold

Wildlife officials hope this summer to restore a population of black-footed ferrets to a pair of western Wyoming ranches where the species, for a time believed extinct, was rediscovered in the wild 35 years ago. The 35 ferrets released will be among as many as 220 captive-bred ferrets released in Wyoming, Montana, Colorado and Kansas this year. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service breeds the ferrets at a facility outside Fort Collins in northern Colorado. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department plans to release its allocation of young ferrets July 26 on the adjoining Pitchfork and Lazy BV ranches in western Wyoming. They live in vast colonies of prairie dogs, upon which they prey and depend on for food. Typically cattle ranchers out West do their best to poison off prairie dogs to prevent pasture damage. That hasn’t been the case lately on the Pitchfork and Lazy BV. There, Wyoming Game and Fish has been experimenting with feeding prairie dogs a plague vaccine and dusting the rodents’ burrows with insecticide. Plague, a disease carried by fleas, is among the top killers of prairie dogs...more

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