Dr. Samantha Panther Observes: In a relatively short span of time, cumulative events have unfolded that led to the complete decimation of the Black Footed Ferret. This calamity would spread across North America, leading to the species being claimed as extinct. Not only reckless framing practices led to the species demise, disease plagues crossed over on ships in 1900 that quickly spread across the continent. This black death still remains a current threat to the recovery of the species.
Being primarily dependant on prairie dogs, the black footed ferret had their primary food source tilled under and poisoned over the past 100 years. Only 5% of North American prairie dog populations survive today. Prairie dogs are a keystone species essential not only to other animal species such as the Ferruginous hawk and the swift fox, active borrowing helps to aerate and fertilize soil promoting plant growth and diversity.
In 1981, a small population of 129 ferrets were discovered in Wyoming, and efforts have be made to reintroduce the species in regions they previously inhabited. As of this year, 2021, current number of black footed ferrets in the wild are estimated at 300. Conservation efforts are ongoing, with 200 ferrets reintroduced into the wild each year.
It is only through species diversity and climate management will ecosystems around the world thrive and return habitats to their natural order. Through educating children with real facts on the potential harm that humans pose on the natural world, we can hope to create a future planet that is livable for all animal species and humans.
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