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Social Networking Prairie Dog Style
By Rachel Nuwer - WOUB Public Media - 08/01/2014
Prairie dogs’ complex social networks seemingly rival those of humans. The rodents live in underground colonies composed of up to thousands of individuals. More...
For rare species, the future is in the freezer as zoos manage a conservation effort
By Darryl Fears - The Washington Post - 07/27/2014
She’s not just another girl with a pretty face living in the District’s outermost exurbs. Amani, an eye-catching cheetah feline, has a proud name that means aspiration and a strong family line that traces to Namibia and South Africa. Her rich genes make her one of the most important individuals in her small community just outside Front Royal, Va. More...
Black-footed ferrets
By Tom Dixon - Casper Star-Tribune - 07/21/2014
In September 1981, John Hogg’s dog, Shep, dragged a dead animal onto his porch at his ranch outside Meeteetse. He threw it on the trash pile, but his wife, Lucille, brought it to a local taxidermist. It turned out be a black-footed ferret, a species formerly thought to be extinct. More...
National Park Officials Fight Plague In Prairie Dogs
By Kevin Woster - Keloland.com - 07/18/2014
Wind Cave National Park officials are working to protect prairie dogs from the plague, a bacterial infection that has devastated prairie-dog populations in outbreaks elsewhere. But it isn't just prairie dogs that park officials are worried about. It's also the park's small population of endangered black-footed ferrets, which rely heavily on prairie dogs for food. More...
Prairie dogs vaccinated for sylvatic plague at Wind Cave National Park
By Emily Niebrugge - Rapid City Journal - 07/17/2014
Greg Schroeder picked up a distressed prairie dog that was jumping back and forth in a cage and scanned the tag under its skin to see if it had been captured before. Bison grazed in the distance on the eastern edge of Wind Cave National Park where Schroeder was capturing the prairie dogs and carrying them to a trailer where they would be sedated as part of an effort to immunize them against disease. More...
Black-footed ferrets to be reintroduced to Fort Collins
By Ryan Maye Handy - The Coloradoan - 05/11/2014
Black-footed ferrets will soon be roaming and hunting again on Soapstone Prairie, thanks to a Colorado House Bill to be signed next week by Gov. John Hickenlooper. The governor will be signing the bill, HB-1267, Saturday morning at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, home to two black-footed ferrets — which are likely to remain in captivity. More...
Soapbox: Don’t discount prairie dogs’ benefits
By Daniel Taylor - The Coloradoan - 05/03/2014
The designation of a species as a “pest” is often the result of a particular organism that inconveniences human life. Once a species has been given this label, it is very difficult to remove from the minds of Americans. More...
Fish & Wildlife Service Awards $5.8 Million for Species Preservation
By ICTMN Staff - Indian Country Today Media Network - 04/27/2014
Nearly $6 million has been allocated to help the black-footed ferret, razorback sucker and Wyoming toad to survive as species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) said. In total, $5.8 million will be distributed to 17 projects in 15 U.S. states and territories through the Cooperative Recovery Initiative, which focuses on the most at-risk species living on or near national wildlife refuges. More...
NRCS seeks volunteers for black-footed ferret conservation program
By Staff - The Lamar Ledger News - 04/26/2014
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Colorado is currently accepting applications for enrollment in a special effort that will help recover the federally endangered black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes). The effort promotes voluntary, incentive-based conservation on private and Tribal lands through the USDA Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Applications will be accepted until May 15th, 2014. More...
RARE FERRETS NEED MORE LAND TO SURVIVE THE PLAGUE
By Jacob Levich-Stony Brook - Futurity - 02/20/2014
The black-footed ferret is one of the most endangered mammals in North America, but new research suggests that these charismatic critters can persist if conservationists think big enough. Decades of human persecution (e.g., poisoning) of the ferret’s favorite prey, prairie dogs, and severe outbreaks of plague and distemper led to its extinction in the wild in 1987. More...
Can America’s Grasslands Be Saved?
By TOM KENWORTHY - Climate Progress - 01/08/2014
To the uneducated eyes of a visitor traveling along secondary roads in central North Dakota, it seems like farmers there are harvesting boulders. But the big rock piles frequently seen at the edges of new agricultural fields are actually signs of a massive change in land use in recent years. More...
Catch the Wave: Decoding the Prairie Dog’s Contagious Jump-Yip
By Bec Crew - Scientific American - 01/07/2014
Prairie dogs have the most sophisticated vocal language ever decoded. Even better than chimps, dolphins and orcas. This could change with further research into chimp, dolphin and orca language, but right now, prairie dogs are where it’s at. More...
Saving The Native Prairie — One Black-Footed Ferret At A Time
By Elizabeth Shogren - NPR - 12/01/2013
American pioneers saw the endless stretches of grassland of the Great Plains as a place to produce grain and beef for a growing country. But one casualty was the native prairie ecosystem and animals that thrived only there. More...
Letter: Black-footed ferrets important to our ecosystem
By Kruse Elementary Students - Coloradoan - 11/21/2013
Our fifth-grade class learned about black-footed ferret, or BFF, recovery efforts. We practiced critical thinking by learning about this local, topical issue. More...
Black-footed ferrets begin road trip to Montana
By Associated Press - Casper Star Tribune - 11/16/2013
Twenty black-footed ferrets began a road trip on Friday, traveling from their nursery in Colorado to be released into the rugged badlands of the UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge along the Missouri River. The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the transfer during its meeting on Thursday in Helena. More...
Ferret recovery is tricky. Is it worth it?
By Edward O'Brien - Montana Public Radio - 11/15/2013
State wildlife commissioners have approved the release of up to 20 black-footed ferrets in central Montana to prevent the loss of a struggling population of the highly-endangered prairie animal. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks non-game wildlife management bureau chief, Lauri Hanauska-Brown says this will allow federal biologists to release the animals onto the UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge by the weekend. More...
Gunnison prairie dog doesn't make endangered list
By Felicia Fonseca - Seattlepi.com - 11/15/2013
A prairie dog found in four Southwestern states won't be added to the federal list of endangered or threatened species, eliminating the possibility that developers would need permits on federal land when disturbing the animals' habitat. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Thursday that threats to the Gunnison prairie dog that include agriculture, grazing, invasive species, urbanization, and oil and gas operations won't cause the animal to become extinct soon or in the foreseeable future. More...
Ferrets on brink at UL Bend
By Karl Puckett - Great Falls Tribune - 11/06/2013
Another 20 black-footed ferrets are proposed for release in Montana later this month, this time at UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge south of Malta, where a previously reintroduced population will likely disappear without an infusion of new animals. On Oct. 3, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released 32 prairie dog-eating ferrets into dog colonies at Fort Belknap Reservation. More...
Black-footed ferrets deployed by feds under Endangered Species deals
By Bruce Finley - The Denver Post - 10/31/2013
Thirty black-footed ferrets bolted from cages onto barren ranchland Wednesday, potentially launching a new approach to rescuing endangered species — and introducing a natural predator of prairie dogs. Although the federal government, led by biologists in Colorado, has bred thousands of black-footed ferrets in captivity, they still do not exist as self-sustaining species in the wild. More...
Black-footed ferrets from Cheyenne Mountain Zoo begin life in the Colorado wild
By Matt Steiner - The Gazette - 10/30/2013
A tiny black-footed male ferret with a curious look and a twitching nose emerged from his carrier shortly after 11 a.m. Wednesday at a ranch west of Pueblo. The ferret, who was born and raised at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, hesitantly looked around at the wide, dusty expanse that was about to become his new home. More...
On the Way Back
By Karen E. Lange - The Humane Society of the United States - 10/23/2013
In 1966, the Louisiana legislature named the brown pelican the official state bird. It was an optimistic act: Pelicans had virtually disappeared from the state three years before. During the 1950s, the population had plummeted. And then it was gone, with scientists only starting to figure out the cause: a pesticide called Endrin that washed into rivers and the ocean and, in some cases, was spilled directly into the Mississippi. More...
Widespread Plague In Wildlife Threatens Western Ecosystems
By Elizabeth Shogren - NPR - 10/23/2013
For most of us, plague is something that maybe we read about in history books. In the 14th Century, it wiped out half of Europe's population. More...
Texas county doesn't want Clovis' prairie dogs
By Associated Press - Lubbock Avalanche-Journal - 10/22/2013
Efforts to save Clovis’ prairie dogs have hit another snag. City Manager Joe Thomas said officials in Texas’ Mitchell County oppose a proposal to move Clovis’ unwanted prairie dogs to private land in the west-central Texas county. More...
Feisty ferrets add to population at Seligman site
By JC Amberlyn - Daily Miner - 10/14/2013
Some very dedicated wildlife professionals and volunteers tried their hand at the Arizona equivalent of herding cats recently as they worked to convince some small and very feisty ferrets to leave their crates and go down a burrow to freedom. This was not as simple as it might seem. More...
32 endangered black-footed ferrets released on Fort Belknap Reservation
By Associated Press - Missoulian - 10/06/2013
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released 32 endangered black-footed ferrets into a 1,000-acre prairie dog colony on the Fort Belknap Reservation. Officials released the ferrets Thursday as part of an effort to bolster populations in the state. More...
Long Live Black-Footed Ferrets!
By Marylou Zarbock - Small Animal Channel - 09/26/2013
September 26 is BFF Day! That acronym does not stand for Best Friends Forever Day; it stands for Black-Footed Ferret Day. Black-footed ferrets are the only ferret native to North America. More...
Rita Blanca National Grasslands Selected as a Prairie Dog Research Site
By Rick Hanson - USDA Forest Service - 07/02/2013
Two black-tailed prairie dog colonies on the Rita Blanca National Grasslands in Dallam, Texas have been selected as research test sites for the second phase of a new vaccine to prevent Sylvatic Plague in prairie dogs. The Rita Blanca is one of 19 sites selected to test the vaccine, which was developed to reduce the high mortality rate among prairie dog colonies exposed to Sylvatic Plague. More...
Saving a wildlife species usually becomes moving experience
Florida Today - 06/29/2013
Caution: Saving a species may require heavy lifting — literally picking up wild animals and moving them long distances. Big animals. Small animals. Skittish, furtive or aggressive animals. Regardless, the same biological rules apply: To better the odds of survival, rare species need more than one population base and the widest gene pool possible. More...
Prairie dogs' language decoded by scientists
CBC News - 06/21/2013
Did that prairie dog just call you fat? Quite possibly. On The Current Friday, biologist Con Slobodchikoff described how he learned to understand what prairie dogs are saying to one another and discovered how eloquent they can be. More...
Black-footed ferret might be reintroduced to region
By Kevin Welch - Amarillo Globe-News - 06/18/2013
A furry posse may be headed to High Lonesome to clean up prairie dog towns. State and federal agencies will take public comment Thursday on a proposal to introduce black-footed ferrets into about 1,000 acres of Rita Blanca National Grasslands in northwest Dallam County as part of a national effort to rebuild the endangered species. More...
Prairie dogs beneficial for the prairie
By Ryan D. Wilson - The Clay Center Dispatch - 06/11/2013
All kinds of critters live under the ground in the Kansas prairie including insects, box turtles and burrowing owls, but perhaps the most interesting are prairie dogs, Milford Nature Center naturalist Vanessa Avara told kids at Monday’s library program. More...
The Dogs Of Nucla
By Peter Shelton - The Watch - 06/02/2013
Twenty-one years ago, the microscopic town of Nucla (population 711), at the west end of Montrose County, garnered national attention for its Top Dog World Championship Prairie Dog Shoot. More...
Black-Footed Ferrets Take The Spotlight On Endangered Species Day
By Marylou Zarbock - Small Animal Channel - 05/09/2013
Prairie Wildlife Research is spreading the word about endangered black-footed ferrets. If you have never heard about black-footed ferrets, you are the people they want to reach. And if you have, Endangered Species Day is a great reminder about these cute, little mammals from the North American prairie. More...
How a plan for open space near Stapleton became open season on prairie dogs
By Alan Prendergast - Westword - 05/09/2013
More than most people, perhaps, Stapleton resident Patricia Olson feels a strong connection to animals. A veterinarian and former CEO of the world's largest nonprofit dedicated to animal health sciences, she's helped fund research studies on everything from housecats to sea lions to gorillas. But even though she lives in a place that was once a vast grassland, Olson had never paid much attention to prairie dogs. Not until a contractor hired by Forest City, the developer in charge of transforming Stapleton from a decommissioned airport into a mixed-use, amenity-stuffed community of tomorrow, began gassing them right around the corner from her home. More...
Prairie-dog relocation causing headache for ranchers
By Carlos Illescas - The Denver Post - 04/23/2013
An estimated 150 prairie dogs living in the area of a planned light-rail stop near East Iliff Avenue along Interstate 225 in Aurora will be happy. But their furry friends further north along the highway corridor may not be as lucky. And ranchers near the new prairie dogs' home are ticked. More...
Federal protection of Utah prairie dogs prompt lawsuit
By Brian Maffly - The Salt Lake Tribune - 04/18/2013
Bruce Hughes owns a 3.4-acre lot on the west side of Cedar City that he has hoped to develop into commercial real estate for years. But the presence of a protected rodent on the land makes it impossible for him and many others in Iron County to get building permits, rendering their land unusable and worthless, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court in Salt Lake City. More...
Construction Ahead: Prairie Dogs Build Diversity Across the Plains
An Interview with Dr. David J. Augustine, USDA - American Prairie Reserve - 04/01/2013
Black-tailed prairie dogs are helpful homebuilders, gardeners and gourmet meals according to recently published research in Conservation Biology. In “Associations of Grassland Bird Communities with Black-tailed Prairie Dogs in the North American Great Plains,” authors David J. Augustine and Bruce W. Baker reveal that the areas in which the iconic rodent is present also support higher densities of at least 9 other vertebrates. From black-footed ferrets and prairie rattlesnakes to burrowing owls, mountain plovers and horned larks, it seems that prairie dogs are living up to their “keystone species” moniker. More...
Can the Prairie Dog Be Saved?
By LEE DYE - ABC News- 03/17/2013
John Hoogland dragged his new bride up the side of a mountain a while back to watch a colony of prairie dogs go about a day's work. Within about 10 minutes, the young graduate student concluded he could "study these things for 10 years." More...
Black-footed ferret now at home at Milford Nature Center
By Elby Adamson - The Clay Center Dispatch - 02/22/2013
A black-footed ferret named Jemima has become the newest resident of the Milford Nature Center. “She is on loan to us from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center, in Carr, Colorado. She is a retired breeder,” said Vanessa Avara, Asst. Director of the Milford Nature Center. More...
How Politics and an Earthquake Led to Prairie Dog Plague
By Tara C. Smith - Scientific American - 02/18/2013
John Tull didn’t know he was the heir to a century-old legacy. In 2002, he and his wife boarded a plane from their Santa Fe, New Mexico home and flew to New York City. Shortly after arrival, Tull and his wife both felt ill, with high fevers and odd swellings. In the post-9/11 aftermath, terrorism was feared—the couple was diagnosed with bubonic plague. More...
Prairie dogs could be saviors of Mexico's former prairies
By Living on Earth - 01/30/2013
Prairie dogs used to rule the prairies of America and Mexico. But when ranchers moved in, prairie dogs were exterminated. Now, an ecologist says the black-tailed prairie dogs are critical for turning Mexico's desert back into prairie. More...
Land deal will help rural airports, Utah prairie dog
By Amy Joi O'Donoghue - Deseret News - 01/29/2013
As part of an ongoing effort to preserve habitat for Utah prairie dogs yet offset their impacts to rural airports, 800 acres of school trust lands property will be sold to The Nature Conservancy. The transaction, announced Tuesday, happened with Federal Aviation Administration dollars, with the agency planning to pay $800,000 to the Utah School & Institutional Trust Lands Administration. In exchange, the conservancy will get 800 acres of prime prairie dog habitat on Johnson's Bench in Garfield County. More...
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