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Experimental Black-footed Ferret Reintroduction on the Turner Endangered Species Fund’s Vermejo Ranch, New Mexico By, Lynn Gemlo, R2-New Mexico Ecological Svcs
Southwest Region, September 24, 2008
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Vermejo Ranch has now released ferrets onto their property beginning on September 24, 2008.  This first release of 18 pre-conditioned ferrets was in a 1,000-acre black-tailed prairie dog colony surrounded by electric netting. The second release of 14 pre-conditioned ferrets occurred on October 16, 2008, in the same area.  The third release may occur on or about the first week of November.  The population of black-tailed prairie dogs on Vermejo Ranch continues to expand, now providing approximately 6,000 acres of suitable ferret habitat.  After approximately 14 days, the ferrets in the enclosure were trapped and moved to unprotected prairie dog colonies in another area of the Ranch.  After all of the ferrets are released, they will be trapped and moved to the unprotected areas on the Ranch as well.  Monitoring will include documenting ferret movement patterns, cause-specific mortality and impacts on the prairie dog population.  The objective is to establish the foundation for a self-sustaining ferret population that contributes to Federal recovery objectives for the species. 

Contact Info: Nicole Haskett, 505-248-6457gov, nicole_haskett@fws.gov



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