The Plight of the Black Footed Ferret

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Only a small handful of endangered species have been reunited to there respective populations in the last few decades. The black footed ferret (also recognized as its scientific name Mustela Nigripes) was thought to be one of the most endangered animals in the United States and completely wiped out from Canada. The black footed ferrets were declared extinct in 1974, in 1981 a miracle happened when aferret was discovered in Meeteetsee, Wyoming when John and Lucille Hogg’s ranch dog killed a black footed ferret and carried the dead animal home; they took the corpse to a knowledgeable taxidermist Larry LaFranchie. This became such great opportunity to save the species. A terrible disease in 1985 attacked the small ferret population, and a lot of the remaining animals were taken into captivity in a desperate effort to save what was left. Captive breeding was initiated soon after, and a reintroduction program began in 1991. In this paper, I will discuss the threats, habitat, and habitat loss of the black footed ferret, the importance of agriculture and how it affects the black footed ferret today, and how prairie dog colonies affect where the black footed ferret lives. I will discuss how they reproduce, their behaviors, and how they are important to an ecosystem. The ferrets are obligatory predators on the prairie dogs. This is known as a specialized predator because they only eat prairie dogs. The ferrets prey on prairie dogs and take advantage over their burrows for shelter and denning. The ferret takes control of the burrow by strangling them and eating them. Black footed ferrets eat a lot of prairie dogs; a family of 4 ferrets eat up to 250 prairie dogs per year. The prairie dogs back in the 20th century were persecuted as agricult... ... middle of paper ... ...gue by fleas, or by eating dead prairie dogs that have been infected and died with it in there system. Through this encounter of this disease, the US Army and the US Geological Survey had concocted a vaccine that has been proven to be effective at preventing this disease. They inject this vaccine into the burrows, approximately 3 week later it provides a lifelong immunity towards the plague. Captive ferrets are injected before they are released into the wild, and efforts have been made to inject the wild ferrets, but it is intense and very time consuming to attempt this. Works Cited

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