Partnering with Montana’s Northern Cheyenne Reservation
Just 30 years ago, black-footed ferrets were thought to be extinct. But the discovery of a last population near Meeteetse, Wyoming 30 years ago jumpstarted a recovery program that has reintroduced 2,600 of the predators back to the wild.
Lincoln Park Zoo has been a key partner in this recovery. Research by zoo scientists has produced key insights for maintaining the health of a population stemming from just 18 founders. Now, thanks to a grant from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Conservation Endowment Fund, zoo scientists and educators are collaborating with Montana’s Northern Cheyenne Reservation in an ambitious community conservation partnership.
The approach is two-pronged. Zoo researchers are providing conservation training and equipment to enable local partners to monitor a ferret population that was reintroduced in 2008. At the same time, zoo educators are partnering with the community to integrate the conservation effort into the local school curriculum. Teacher training, inquiry-based education programs and hands-on fieldwork opportunities will strengthen relationships between the partners and boost prospects for the ferrets’ recovery.
This ongoing collaboration will provide a new model—not only for the recovery of endangered species but also for enlisting communities as partners in conservation.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Louisville Zoological Garden
Northern Cheyenne Tribe
Prairie Wildlife Research
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The World Wide Fund for Nature