Recovery Plan Goals

The current Black-footed Ferret Recovery Plan was approved in 1988. An earlier recovery plan was drafted in 1978 when no extant, wild black-footed ferrets were thought to exist. A revision to the recovery plan is underway and should be completed by the end of 2011. Below is an excerpt from the Draft Recovery Plan due out this year.

"The precise total number of breeding adult black-footed ferrets extant in the wild is unknown because of monitoring limitations. However, in the fall of 2008 a minimum of 700 ferrets occured in the four "successful" reintroduction sites (Aubrey Valley, Arizona; Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, South Dakota; Conata Basin, South Dakota; and Shirley Basin, Wyoming). Assuming that approximately 50 percent of ferrets counted in fall surveys survive to become breeding adults the following spring, there are approximately 350 breeding adults at these four successful sites. Accordingly, it appears that as of 2011, downlisting efforts may be 40 percent complete with regard to establishing 10 successful populations and approximately 23 percent complete with regard to the goal of 1,500 breeding adults. An additional number of at least 1,150 breeding adults are needed at existing or new sites to meet the downlisting goals. It has taken 20 years of reintroduction efforts to reach this point in ferret recovery. Accordingly, we are modifying the year of achieving downlisting goals estimated in the 1988 Recovery Plan from 2010 to 2020. Additionally, we estimate meeting delisting goals by 2040. These estimates assume progress similar to what has been achieved in recent years."

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