The Latest: Black-footed ferrets released near Yellowstone


MEETEETSE, Wyo. (AP) — The Latest on the release of black-footed ferrets in an area of Wyoming where they almost went extinct. (all times local):

9:30 p.m.

Black-footed ferrets are back in an area of western Wyoming where they almost went extinct more than 30 years ago.

State and federal wildlife officials on Tuesday released 35 black-footed ferrets on two ranches 50 miles east of Yellowstone National Park.

Scientists thought the black-footed ferret had gone extinct until a dog brought a dead one home in that area in 1981.

Biologists rounded up the area’s remaining ferrets to start a successful captive-breeding program. The program led by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released hundreds of ferrets to two dozen locations in eight states, Canada and Mexico.

The federal agency raises black-footed ferrets at a facility near Fort Collins, Colorado. Preparation for release includes training the young ferrets to catch prairie dogs, their main source of food.

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12 a.m.

An endangered weasel is returning to an area of western Wyoming where the critter almost went extinct more than 30 years ago.

Biologists plan to release 35 black-footed ferrets Tuesday near Meeteetse (me-TEET’-see). Scientists thought the black-footed ferret was extinct until a dog brought a dead one home near Meeteetse in 1981.

The discovery made tiny Meeteetse famous as the home of the slinky, nocturnal weasel. Black-footed ferrets appear on the town logo, in a downtown sculpture and even on coffee mugs in a local restaurant. But they’re gone from the wild around here.

Biologists captured Meeteetse’s last ferrets for a captive-breeding program that has released hundreds of ferrets in the western U.S. This will be the first release where the black-footed ferret made its last stand in the wild.

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