Black-Footed Ferret

Period 3

Honors Bio

May 18, 2004

The Black-footed ferret is part of the weasel family. It has black marks on its face and has a longer neck. Also the tip of the ferretís tail is black. It is very nocturnal and very agile. Ferrets normally grow up to at least two feet in length. That also includes their tail that is approximately six inches. They normally weigh around two to three pounds.

The Black-footed ferret has many adaptations, including its fast snapping jaws, its quick speed, and its ability to adapt to the American Prairie. Black-footed ferrets don\'t have many predators, but here are a few of them: members of the cat family, wolves, and hawks. Some of their preys are rabbits, gophers, and sometimes elk. The Black-footed ferret is able to blend in with the American Prairie easily. One of its cool features is that its eyes glow in the dark.

Many reasons show why this species is endangered. At first many thought the ferret was extinct until about 1981. They found a small population of them in Wyoming then. One big reason why Black-footed ferrets are endangered is because of the lack of their prey, prairie dogs. Due to wide-scale poisoning and ruining of grass lands the prey is slowly fading away.

Also the elimination of grasslands is killing of the ferrets too. Black-footed ferrets need the grass land to live because that is where their prey lives. If they cannot live with their prey they will not be able to survive. So this shortage of grass land and lack of prairie dogs are slowly killing of the species.

For restoration people need to ensure complete survival for the Black-footed ferret by increasing the captive population of ferrets to 200 breeding adults by 1991, which has already been achieved. Establishing a free breeding census population of 1500 adults in ten or more populations with no fewer than 30 adults in each population by the year 2010.

If the ferret were to become extinct it would not have too much of an effect. They were thought to be extinct once before so, there would not be much effect. Not many predators rely on them. Actually barely any feed on them, which make them of less importance.

The black-footed ferret was first officially recognized by the United States government as threatened in 1967 and was listed as endangered when the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was created in 1973. By the time the United States Fish and Wildlife Service adopted a recovery plan for habitat protection in 1978, however, the ferret had declined to near extinction. The recovery plan has since been modified with emphasis on captive breeding and reintroduction.