Black-footed Ferret Recovery and Reintroduction Program Analysis

The goal of the 2020 AZA Black-footed Ferret (BFF) Recovery and Reintroduction Program Analysis is to recognize challenges, identify potential solutions, and quickly implement action items related to the recovery of the endangered BFF.

The primary objectives of this analysis are to:

  1. Assess the current status and impact of the USFWS BFF recovery program
  2. Identify primary challenges to program success and develop a series of action steps needed to overcome these challenges
  3. Prepare an action plan with recommended future directions

This analysis will not only look at the biological aspects of BFF recovery and reintroduction but also program administration, education, marketing, development, and communications. These aspects are critical for successful species recovery.

Analysis Structure

AZA will focus on four key issue-areas that are directly related to the ultimate success for BFF recovery throughout its historic range. These include:

  1. Managed care
  2. Reintroduction
  3. Disease
  4. Program administration and outreach

To accomplish the stated objectives in this proposal a series of 2-3-day workshops will be conducted for each issue-area to assess current program status and identify related priority actions.

An organizing committee made up of members from AZA and the US Fish and Wildlife Service will work with Steering Committees to facilitate workshops for each of the issue-areas.

Organizing Committee

US Fish and Wildlife Service
Pete Gober, Black-footed Ferret Recovery Coordinator
Kimberly Fraser, Outreach Specialist

Association of Zoos and Aquariums
Steve Olson, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, Project Supervisor
Shelly Grow, Vice President of Conservation and Science, Project Supervisor

Steering Committees

Managed Care Steering Committee
Chair: Paul Marinari, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
Della Garelle, USFWS National Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center
Klaus Koepfli, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
Rachel Santymire, Lincoln Park Zoo
Robyn Bortner, USFWS National Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center

Reintroduction Steering Committee
Chair: Travis Livieri, Prairie Wildlife Research
Dean Biggins, Emeritus, USGS Fort Collins Science Center
Tina Jackson, Colorado Parks & Wildlife Department
Tyler Tretten, USFWS National Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center

Disease Steering Committee
Chair: Tonie Rocke, US Geological Survey
Dan Tripp, Colorado Parks & Wildlife Department
David Eads, USGS Fort Collins Science Center
John Hughes, USFWS National Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center
Kristy Bly, World Wildlife Fund

Administration and Outreach Steering Committee
Chair: Steve Olson, Association of Zoos and Aquariums
Gail Keirn, APHIS Wildlife Services
Gloria Tom, Navajo Nation
Jason Suckow, APHIS Wildlife Services
John Emmerich, BFF Friends
Ken Morgan, Colorado Parks & Wildlife Department
Kimberly Fraser, USFWS National Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center
Pete Gober, USFWS National Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center

Analysis Timeline

Workshops will take place throughout 2020-2021. A report will be produced from each workshop, posted online, and sent to our BFF distribution list. A final report with priority findings and recommendations will be sent to USFWS and stakeholders in January 2021. To join the BFF distribution list or to submit comments and questions about the reports and workshops, please fill out the Contact Form below.

Workshop Timeline
Due to the spread of COVID-19, BFF workshops have been postponed until later in the year. Please check back for further details in April. 

Resources and Reports

Introductory Webinar to the 2020 AZA BFF Analysis (January 2020)
Black-footed Ferret 5-Year Review (2020)
Species Status Assessment Report for the Black-footed Ferret (Mustela nigripes) (2019)
Recovery Plan for the Black-Footed Ferret (Mustela nigripes) (2013)

(Draft workshop reports will be available here after a workshop takes place)


BFF Recovery Program Contact Form

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