Here’s a feel-good story about the last of a long line of ferrets who found a way to survive in the wilds of Wyoming when none of their kind could, then — at the edge of death themselves — were taken from their lands, brought back from the edge of extinction and finally, were able to make a triumphant return to their home.
Though that’s overly dramatic, it’s basically the story that state and federal wildlife managers hope to bring to reality in the Meeteetse area, as they reintroduce black-footed ferrets later this year.
The species was believed to be extinct when a group of ferrets was discovered west of Meeteetse, Wyoming in 1981.
However, those ferrets were decimated by disease several years after their discovery, and wildlife managers decided to capture the last 18 surviving animals.
While it brought an end to the last wild ferret population, it was the start of a successful breeding program. There are now a few hundred of the animals in the wild and a few hundred in captivity.
“Every black-footed ferret known in the U.S. today … resulted from this Meeteetse population,” said Zack Walker, non-game bird and mammal supervisor for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.