The Associated Press

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February 17, 2013
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Ranchers sought to help save black-footed ferret

Wildlife officials working to save the endangered black-footed ferret are trying to persuade more western ranchers and farmers to reintroduce the species on their private land.

Yet cattlemen are divided on whether a proposal to encourage them to do so should be finalized.

Saving the black-footed ferret means also saving the animal’s main diet: prairie dogs, which can compete with livestock for forage.

The public has until Friday to comment on a draft of the program proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

It would assure landowners who agree to have ferrets reintroduced to their land that they wouldn’t face future regulatory restrictions for protecting the species.

Participants and their neighbors could keep working on their properties without fear of penalties if a ferret is accidentally killed.

Wildlife officials are looking for landowners with at least 2,000 acres of prairie dog habitat.

There are an estimated 500 ferrets or so in the wild.

Wildlife officials hope to build the population to 3,000 in the next decade.

For more information, go to www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/mammals/blackfootedferret.


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My Windsor Now Updated Feb 18, 2013 01:07PM Published Feb 23, 2013 10:50PM Copyright 2013 My Windsor Now. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.