Archive for Monday, August 25, 2008

Rare ferrets apparently thriving in western Kansas

August 25, 2008


— Although it's hard to get an exact number, some of the 24 rare black-footed ferrets reintroduced to western Kansas last December have survived and reproduced.

Wildlife volunteers tried to count the ferrets last week, a task made difficult by the ferrets' habit of being reclusive and being spotted only briefly at night.

At least four of the ferrets reproduced, wildlife volunteers said.

"The results have been superb," said Ron Klataske, executive director of Audubon of Kansas. Klataske is hopeful that a third to half of the ferrets released in December survived.

Volunteers captured one of the ferret young on Thursday night and checked his health before giving him a microchip and releasing him.

"He was chattering at us and barking at us. He was feisty," said Samantha Wisely, assistant biology professor at Kansas State University. "The moms are more mellow. They were captive-raised and have seen people before. It was really nice to see a wild-born acting up and not wanting to be around people. He was doing his thing."

The young ferret is probably from the first litter of ferrets born in Kansas in more than 50 years.

Black-footed ferrets were believed to be extinct until 1981, when a small colony was found near Meeteetse, Wyo. Since then, the endangered species has been reintroduced in several Plains states.

Federal wildlife officials hope to establish 10 self-sustaining populations across the nation by 2010, with 1,500 breeding adult ferrets. They plan to release an additional 30 ferrets on the same Logan County land in October.

The ferrets live in prairie dog holes and prey on prairie dogs.


gr 9 years, 8 months ago

"You got some kind of hateful grudge against ferrets?"Don't have anything against ferrets.

geniusmannumber1 9 years, 8 months ago

autie, these are two of the most notorious trolls on the boards. They say crazy stuff to get a rise out of people. I've never seen either of them add anything of substance to a discussion. Most just ignore them.

gr 9 years, 8 months ago

Invictus has it! Anyone who tries to conserve rare animals will be punished for it as has happened before. Kill it and then ask, what ferret. Too bad. But the wackos have made their point: Destroy any rare (or even pretended rare) animals before the wackos destroy you.

geomatix 9 years, 8 months ago

My dad who is a farmer in western Kansas has seen them a few times in the past 20 years or so. Never would report them in fear that his land would be taken towards the cause of protecting an "endangered species". Didn't kill them or anything. Actually he keeps some native grass strips around the farm for the critters and other animals (mule deer, antelope, prairie dogs etc.). You do have to trim back the prairie dogs with a little "lead poisoning" (read 22-250) once in a while. Great fun!

sdinges 9 years, 8 months ago

I saw an interesting feature on prairie dogs on Animal Planet last night - I think it's this week's Wild Kingdom (and the title something about Prairies), if you're interested in catching a repeat. Despite the fact that people consider them pests, prairie dogs are extremely useful - especially on grazing land. Grass grows quicker, plus it becomes more nutrient-rich, and land becomes more fertile. Some people even put them on their land, for the good they do.

Kevin Sontag 9 years, 8 months ago

Also, let's not forget - let's not forget, Dude - that keeping wildlife, an amphibious rodent, for uh, domestic, you know, within the city - that aint legal either.

hipper_than_hip 9 years, 8 months ago

Man I love shooting prairie dogs in South Dakota! There's supposed to be some good prairie dog hunting in the Cimmeron Grasslands in SW KS; has anyone hunted down there?

qhays 9 years, 8 months ago

The only way to bring back BF-ferrets is to put black-tailed prairie dogs on the ESL. It needs to be done and should be done. Farmers and ranchers claim that dog colonies lead to injured livestock -- scientific evidence says otherwise. In fact, dog colonies increase graze diversity and quality. BFF are amazing carnivores, and Kansas, which is an otherwise barren state in terms of wildlife diversity is lucky to have them. Hopefully plague issues won't be a problem here like with reintroductions in MT and elsewhere. More p-dogs also means more upland sandpipers and burrowing owls... In terms of troll-posts, I think it's nice when people wave the ignorant flag around -- it makes it easier to ignore everything they ever say...

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