Conserving the Black-Footed Ferret


Photo by Minden Pictures Shattil & Rozinski

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.


Staff

 

Rachel Santymire, Ph. D.
Director, Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology

  Kyle Soller is education manager in the Hurvis Center for Learning Innovation and Collaboration.  

Kyle Soller
Education Manager, Hurvis Center for Learning Innovation and Collaboration

             
 

Seth Magle, Ph.D.
Director, Urban Wildlife Institute

  Evan Sorley is the ecohealth coordinator in Lincoln Park Zoo's Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology.  

Evan Sorley
EcoHealth Coordinator, Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology

             
Mary Beth Manjerovic is a wildlife disease ecologist at Lincoln Park Zoo's Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology and Urban Wildlife Institute  

Mary Beth Manjerovic, Ph.D.
Wildlife Disease Ecologist, Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology and Urban Wildlife Institute

   

 


Multimedia

 

On the Plains
A black-footed ferret surveys the scene after emerging from a burrow.

Sunset over Badlands National Park.  

Back in the Field to Save Black-Footed Ferrets
Rachel Santymire returns to the wilds of Badlands National Park for her latest work to conserve one of the rarest animals in North America: black-footed ferrets.

Scientist Rachel Santymire shares rhino research and “camera traps” with students in Montana’s Northern Cheyenne Reservation  

Upward Bound
Scientist Rachel Santymire shares rhino research and “camera traps” with students in Montana’s Northern Cheyenne Reservation, part of the program to enlist them as partners in the conservation.

Researcher Rachel Santymire braves wildfires to return to Montana’s Northern Cheyenne Reservation to work with the community to conserve endangered black-footed ferrets.  

A Smoky Arrival at Northern Cheyenne Reservation
Researcher Rachel Santymire braves wildfires to return to Montana’s Northern Cheyenne Reservation to work with the community to conserve endangered black-footed ferrets.

 

A Community Effort
Vice President of Education Rachel Bergren traveled to Montana to lead a community workshop. By partnering with teachers, the zoo is boosting efforts to conserve endangered black-footed ferrets in the Northern Cheyenne Reservation.

 

Ferrets, Dogs and Digital Donuts
Zoo scientists and educators give us an update from the field, detailing work on the ground to conserve black-footed ferrets in Montana's Northern Cheyenne Reservation.

Tallying feral dogs in Montana’s Northern Cheyenne reservation can protect endangered black-footed ferrets and the local community  

Feral or Not?
Tallying feral dogs in Montana’s Northern Cheyenne reservation can protect endangered black-footed ferrets and the local community…but it isn’t always easy, as zoo scientist Mary Beth Manjerovic shares.

Free-roaming horses make for a beautiful photo, but they can also impact the health of local people and wildlife  

Community Health Close to Home
Free-roaming horses make for a beautiful photo, but they can also impact the health of local people and wildlife, as scientist Rachel Santymire shares.

Zoo scientist Evan Sorley surveys attitudes about free-roaming wildlife in Montana’s Northern Cheyenne Reservation  

Chatting with the Cheyenne Community
Free-roaming dogs and horses can challenge conservation efforts—and community health—in Northern Cheyenne Reservation. But do people want the animals to be managed? Zoo scientist Evan Sorley asked them as part of our conservation partnership.