Office of External Affairs
Mountain-Prairie Region


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Mountain-Prairie Region
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

For Immediate Release

September 4, 2012


Kimberly Tamkun;, 970-897-2730

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Invites the Public to “Follow the Ferret”


Heart-Shaped Ferret Kits
Black-footed Ferret Kits. Credit: Kimberly Tamkun / USFWS

WELLINGTON, Colo. — The National Black-Footed Ferret Recovery Program, a multi-partner project lead by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), invites you to follow the life-cycle of one of North America’s most endangered mammals, the black-footed ferret (BFF).

Twice declared extinct, a small remnant population of black-footed ferrets was discovered in 1981 and brought into a captive breeding facility. Recovery efforts began with only 18 ferrets, slowly instituting one of the most successful wildlife reintroduction programs in history. More than 7,100 ferrets have been born in captivity since 1986 with approximately 3,000 BFFs being reintroduced back to their native prairie habitat. Approximately 1,000 individuals now live in the wild making this one of America’s greatest conservation success stories.

Starting this week, the ferret journey begins on the Recovery Program’s Facebook page (!/pages/National-Black-footed-Ferret-Conservation-Center/186895241361880). The public can follow a number of black-footed ferrets as biologists work to prepare them to survive on the American prairie. “It’s a really rewarding project,” said Kimberly Tamkun of the National Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center. “We’re trying to use social media in a way that creates more awareness for one of America’s most elusive, yet charismatic species. We know that if the American public learns more about this species, they’ll be much more likely to support its recovery and, just as importantly, the conservation of many other prairie species who share this rare habitat.”

The “masked bandit of the prairie,” as the black-footed ferret is sometimes called, is beloved by those familiar with the species. It is known for its distinct and sometimes eccentric personality, which is embodied best in its famous “ferret dance” (

Fact sheet:


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service.

For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit Connect with our Facebook page at, follow our tweets at, watch our YouTube Channel at and download photos from our Flickr page at

 - FWS -