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Tue May 18, 2010
Black footed-ferrets keep special status
By Renny MacKay
Laramie, WY – The U-S Fish and Wildlife Service has decided to keep a special agreement in place for black footed-ferrets in southeastern Wyoming. Black footed-ferrets were thought to be extinct almost 30 years ago but were rediscovered and their population has come back from the brink. They are considered an endangered species but a special designation in certain parts of the country removes some of the liability for private land owners who have the ferrets on their land. Mike Lockhart ran the black footed-ferrets' recovery program for the Fish and Wildlife Service. He is now retired and thinks the decision to keep the special designation in place in parts Wyoming and at other locations is a good one.
"We've already set them up and there's an expectation by the people that are there that the agencies will hold to their word and they'll manage it the way they have. There would be a fear and I don't think anything would come from it that the agency could impose restrictions that they weren't imposing before."
The conservation group Wildearth Guardians asked that special status be removed and the black footed-ferrets be put on the endangered species list.
Lockhart says the ferrets are on their way to recovery.