Return of the Prairie Bandit

“Return of the Prairie Bandit” was honored by The Wildlife Society on October 15th with the 2012 Conservation Education Award in the Audio-Visual Category. The award recognized Kenton Vaughan (Director), Mark Caswell (Cinematographer), Margus Jukkum (Sound Recordist) and Travis Livieri of Prairie Wildlife Research. “It’s a great honor for the film because it tells such a great story, is very accessible and is set in a beautiful landscape, Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan.”

The film was made entirely in the Park and also featured Pat Fargey and Ashley Wruth from Parks Canada. Starting in October of 2009, “Return of the Prairie Bandit” follows the fate of 34 black-footed ferrets released onto prairie dog colonies in Grasslands National Park. Livieri and staff from Parks Canada, Toronto Zoo and Calgary Zoo follow up on the ferrets throughout the year as challenges arise for the ferrets and humans as well. The film is available on DVD from Prairie Wildlife Research. The Wildlife Society is the premier organization representing the wildlife profession for the past 75 years.

Their habitat once stretched across the Prairies. But when humans wiped out the one thing they eat, the black-footed ferret disappeared. The only native North American ferret, this mysterious animal became the most endangered species in the world. For many years, they survived only in zoos. Now a fledgling project is attempting to bring the black-footed ferret back to Saskatchewan. The dramatic story of the ferrets' reintroduction to the wild unfolds in Return of the Prairie Bandit. Shot over the course of one year, Return of the Prairie Bandit is a fascinating look at the ups and downs of reintroducing a species into the wild set against the sweeping, stark beauty of the prairie landscape.

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

See exclusive behind the scenes photos

On February 10th, CBC-TV Canada presented the dramatic story of black-footed ferrets’ reintroduction to the wild in Return of the Prairie Bandit, a new documentary by Kenton Vaughan set in the stunning prairie of southern Saskatchewan.

"The film charts the progress made by wildlife biologist Travis Livieri (of Prairie Wildlife Research) who is spearheading the black-footed ferret revival in North America. Alongside Parks Canada staff, he directs the release of the animal onto prairie dog colonies, and returns each season to check on their survival rate. At each turn, the ferrets face seemingly catastrophic challenges, from an unseasonably harsh winter to plague." Read more about 'Return of the Prairie Bandit'.

blogTravis detailed his experiences in the field during filming of Return of the Prairie Bandit in his online blog. Read about what happened behind the scenes.

interviewDirector Kenton Vaughon discussed black-footed ferrets and the making of the film with The Green Majority. Listen to the interview online.

You can be a part of black-footed ferret recovery and provide on-the-ground support for the reintroduction, relocation and preservation of black-footed ferrets. Your donation puts our biologists and equipment in the field to conserve and research black-footed ferret populations across North America.