The Feasibility of re-introducing the black-footed ferret to the Canadian Prairie

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The Black-footed Ferret (Mustela nigripes) is one of the most endangered species in North America. The recovery of the ferret will probably depend on successfully transplanting captive-born animals to suitable release sites. The feasibility of re-introducing ferrets to an area in southern Saskatchewan was studied. This is the only area in Canada inhabited by prairie dogs, which are the preferred prey of Black-footed Ferrets. The proposed release site has been proposed to be established as a national park. The ferret's habitat requirements, release site logistic concerns and competing land-use conflicts are examined. A wild ferret release in Saskatchewan is not feasible at this time because of insufficient habitat and because ferrets are not immediately available from captive breeding. If prairie dog colonies can be expanded in Saskatchewan or increased in number, a future ferret release may be possible. To prepare for the possible future availability of Black-footed Ferrets, habitat enhancement techniques are presented. Three alternative options to return ferrets to Canada, in addition to a wild release, are discussed. These include establishing a training center, a breeding facility and public display exhibits. A training facility could provide a feasible option for returning ferrets to Canada and contribute to the recovery of the Black-footed Ferret. A captive breeding facility could be feasible if funding for the project was established. Mobile live display s of ferret s are recommended for developing public awareness and support for the recover y of the Black-footed Ferrets.
Bibliography: p. 121-126.
Laing, R. I. (1986). The Feasibility of re-introducing the black-footed ferret to the Canadian Prairie (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from doi:10.11575/PRISM/14190