Wildlife managers recently released 20 black-footed ferrets to a historic recovery area in Wyoming where wild ferrets had been affected by a bout of plague. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service collaborated to release 10 male black-footed ferrets (Mustela nigripes) and 10 females on private land at a Meeteetse recovery site to help bolster the population. “We have phenomenal partnerships with the Lazy BV and Pitchfork ranches who are dedicated to black-footed ferrets and their success,” said Zack Walker, Game and Fish nongame supervisor, in a press release. “Much of what we’ve been able to accomplish for ferrets is due to their considerable support, of which we’re grateful and appreciative.” The species is one of the most endangered animals in North America according to the USFWS and was once considered extinct. Wildlife managers were concerned for the captive population that’s used for ongoing reintroduction efforts due to the discovery that related ferrets are susceptible to SARS-CoV-19, the disease that causes COVID-19 in humans. But many captive animals were vaccinated in an effort to bring extra protection for the animals. A release of 10 additional animals is planned to occur at another site in Wyoming in coming weeks.