Black-footed Ferrets One Step Closer to Finding New Homes in Colorado
For Immediate Release
May 29, 2014
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed House Bill 1267 into law Saturday, moving black-footed ferrets one step closer to finding new homes all across Colorado. The new law allows municipalities to reintroduce black-footed ferrets onto city and county land.
Flanked by children and a watchful captive black-footed Ferret the Governor declared “now that’s a law” as he signed the bill at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. The museum is home to a permanent exhibit featuring a live black-footed ferret.
Fort Collins will be one of the first municipalities to use this new law by reintroducing black-footed ferrets into Soapstone Prairie, a natural area owned by the city of Fort Collins. The ferrets are natural predators and will prey on the abundant prairie dog population. Soapstone which spans 28 square miles north of the city was historic habitat for the black-footed ferret.
“This is a great day for Fort Collins and our natural areas,” said Fort Collins mayor Karen Weitkunaut.
The first ferrets are expected to be released in the fall and will come from the National Black footed Ferret Conservation Center outside Fort Collins.
The reintroductions will take place under the Black-footed Ferret Programmatic Safe Harbor Agreement (SHA). This SHA provides opportunities for private and Tribal landowners to volunteer their lands for reintroductions of this endangered species without affecting their land-use activities beyond mutually agreed-upon measures. It also extends these assurances to surrounding non-participating lands and landowner interests. The SHA will be an important step in moving toward recovery of this iconic species and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will actively work with willing landowners and other wildlife conservation agencies who are offering complimentary incentives to encourage landowner participation.
– FWS –