CPW will release black-footed ferrets in Prowers County

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FILE – In this Oct. 5, 2015, file photo, a black-footed ferret looks out of the entrance to a prairie dog tunnel after being let loose during a release of 30 of the animals by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Commerce City, Colo. In the summer of 2020, about 120 ferrets at Colorado’s National Black-footed Conservation Center were injected with an experimental COVID-19 vaccine. The endangered animals are feared to be highly vulnerable to the disease. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

PROWERS COUNT, Colo. (KDVR) — Colorado Parks and Wildlife will release black-footed ferrets into the wild at the May Ranch in Prowers County this month, the agency announced on Wednesday.

“Recovery of a species like the black-footed ferret depends on long-term habitat management at large scales, and in Colorado, that means partnering with the great private landowners and agricultural organizations across the state,” CPW Species Conservation Coordinator Tina Jackson said. “We are excited to bring the black-footed ferret back to the May Ranch and to work with the family in the years to come.”  

The May Ranch, owned by Dallas and Brenda May, received the Colorado Leopold Conservation Award in June.

CPW is taking part in a major conservation effort with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other partners to restore the rarest mammal in North America. Colorado is home to seven successful reintroduction sites.

The only ferret species native to North America was believed to be extinct twice. The animals had not been observed from the early 1940s until a small population was found in Wyoming in 1981, according to CPW.

About 600 ferrets are known to exist, located in captive breeding facilities and wild relocation sites.

CPW said that each black-footed ferret raised for release has a passive integrated transponder microchip, which is a common internal microchip that contains identifying information that can be read with a scanning device.

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