Black Footed Ferret

These faces! How can something so cute be endangered?? And yet, sadly, they are.

Meet the black-footed ferret; one of the most endangered animals in North America. They are also native to the Great Plains region of the continent when most ferret species are not. For once, it’s not entirely human fault that these little guys mortality rate is so high. You see, black footed ferrets main source of prey are prairie dogs. Not only that, black footed ferrets take over the prairie dog burrows after eating them. They aren’t nicknamed the masked bandits for nothing! No prairie dogs, no black footed ferrets.

Humans have been wiping out grassland habitats to farm but besides habitat loss, the main killer is apex predators and disease. Owls, coyotes, and eagles love to eat prairie dogs. Again, no prairie dogs, no black footed ferrets. The prairie dogs and ferrets are also susceptible to disease. Sylvatic plague is the main culprit. This disease is transmitted by fleas and can wipe out an entire prairie dog colony which in turns wipes out the black footed ferrets when they eat them.

Currently there are about 370 individuals in the wild. There are numerous efforts to save these little guys. The people over at WWF have been trying to get vaccines out to prairie dogs by dropping peanut butter treats into their burrows via drones. They also vaccinate any black footed ferret in captivity before releasing them back into the wild. Other organizations making serious conservation efforts include: the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Defenders of Wildlife, zoos and even Native American tribes; helping to replenish their habitat and population.

As always, if you’re interested in contributing to saving this species, you can adopt a black footed ferret here.

15 thoughts on “Black Footed Ferret

      1. Oh I have to check this out Nel. I had to change my settings a month ago because of too many real spam messages so now I have to accept each comment before it goes online… . On the other side, I am Travelling now and get so many comments(very gratefull for this) to check and like… and don’t have the time for this… balance on holidays: relax/blogging. Hope you understand. Regards stef

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  1. Nel, thank you. Many of your post are thought provoking and informative. The ferrets plight seem to be that of many other critters. It is a shame we continue to ignore our responsibility to all of nature’s creations.

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    1. Nope. They’d rather an animal go extinct before it gets domesticated. Domesticating an animal just leads to a whole host of other problems, mainly the fascination humans have with breeding two different species of animal to create a new one.

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        1. Yeah. It’s sad all the way around. But I read somewhere that there’s this like scientific place that holds DNA of all animal and plant species of the world. I forget what it’s called but I guess in that sense, they aren’t truly extinct?

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