New Plan Lets Ferrets, Landowners Get Along
The U-S Fish and Wildlife Service has worked out a framework for state agencies and private landowners to cooperate on protecting the black-footed ferret. It allows landowners to continue grazing or other uses on their land if they're willing to set aside some habitat for the ferrets.
Brian Maxfield, a biologist with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, says it gives the ferret's neighbors a clear understanding of what they can expect in areas where the ferrets have been re-introduced.
"If there's some interest in an area and they want to re-introduce ferrets," Maxfield tells KUER, "they will not have to go through this full process again. The broad scale has helped out a lot, all the way from Utah to Arizona to Montana. It covers everything."
The black-footed ferret was thought to be extinct until a wild population was discovered in Wyoming in 1981. There are two areas in Utah where ferrets bred in captivity have been released in the wild. Both are in the Uintah Basin.
Publication of the plan this week in the Federal Register will begin a 30-day public comment period.