Endangered Black Footed Ferret Born into the Wild in New Mexico

September 2009
After 75 years without a sighting, a wild-born black footed ferret has been found in New Mexico! The ferret was discovered in north-central New Mexico on the Vermejo Park Ranch. The ferret is the offspring of ferrets from a captive bred reintroduction program that had been made possible through Recovery Program funds provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and our many partners, including substantial help from the Turner Endangered Species Fund. The sighting of the young male black footed ferret was confirmed on September 16, during a spotlight survey at the ranch.

Including its tail, which can be five or six inches long, the black footed ferret is 18 to 24 inches long, weighing one and a half to two and a half pounds. Males are slightly larger than females. They are slender and wiry, with black face masks, black feet and black tipped tails. The black footed ferret’s body is tanish, and it is nearly white on its forehead, muzzle and throat. It has large front paws and claws, large eyes and large ears. Ferrets have very short life spans, living only a few years. The black footed ferret has been re-introduced into prairie environments in Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Kansas, and New Mexico. It is currently listed as endangered.

Black-footed ferret species profile

For more information, please visit the Turner Endangered Species Fund web site.