News outlets reported that Biologists have released 13 more black-footed ferrets on a Wyoming ranch. This is big news. This is interesting news. But do you know why?

The Black-Footed Ferret was considered extinct until a colony was discovered by accident. The aggressive little ferrets like to hunt prairie dogs, so farmers and ranchers tend to like them.

It was back in 1964 when the first discovery was made that a small population of black-footed ferrets was found in Mellette County, South Dakota. But the colony was in decline. Biologists captured nine ferrets in the hopes of starting a captive breeding program. It was thought that the last wild population had died out in 1974. Unfortunately, the captive breeding program was not unsuccessful.

But then they were rediscovered in 1981 near Meeteetse, Wyoming when a ranch dog brought a dead one to his owners. The ranchers brought the carcass to a local taxidermist. The taxidermist called authorities. This was big news.

A captive breeding program began, once again. Wyoming has been working since their rediscovery to breed and release in the hopes of building new colonies across the region.

In celebration of the news of the success of this program, please enjoy Black-footed Ferret Song by Ann Zimmerman. She tells the story of the ferret in her song.