U.S. efforts

The U.S. efforts section shows what the United States has done, and continues to do, for black-footed ferret conservation.

I went to the re-introduction site in South Dakota to meet with Travis Livieri, an employee of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to observe how he monitors, manages and protects the animals.

You can browse a gallery of photos taken during my trip HERE.

Included in this section is an interview with Livieri and a video diary of my experiences in South Dakota.

In South Dakota with Travis Livieri

Travis Livieri works for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in Canata Basin, South Dakota, one of the most successful ferret re-introduction sites in North America. Livieri also helps other governmental agencies, such as those in Canada and Mexico, to develop their ferret introduction plans.

"It's very important to work together," says Livieri. "As this is not just the concern of one state or province, but of a continent. The [black-footed] ferret is one of the most endangered animals in North America, and we should protect it to our best abilities."

This is primarily done through various medical procedures, such as the administration of vaccines against plague and canine distemper, as well as DNA sampling and the testing of fleas and ticks found on the ferrets.

One of the most effective ways is through microchipping, where a small microchip is placed under the skin of their neck to be read by an electronic reader. This allows the USFWS to monitor the density of ferret populations, as well as track breeding success. Any ferrets that lack that tag are therefore wild-born.

Livieri says that working with the ferrets for such a long time has shown him that there is hope that the ferret can be completely recovered and removed from the endangered species list. He cautions that it will require a great deal more work before that can ever happen.

Still, there is hope.


South Dakota video diary