By Bob Beck
Laramie, WY – Scientists say that the once dismal Black Footed Ferret recovery program in the Shirley Basin has greatly improved. Habitat destruction and the poisoning of prairie dogs are believed to be behind the decline in the ferrets. After being reintroduced to the Shirley Basin there were only five Black Footed Ferrets in 1997 but those numbers have increased to an estimated 220. The U-S Fish and Wildlife's Mike Lockhart who is the black footed ferret recovery co-ordinator says the trick is to keep numbers from declining again. Lockhart says it looked dismal initially in the Shirley Basin but things improved quickly. He says the lesson is not to give up on recovery programs too early.