The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has entered into a cooperative agreement with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to conduct an analysis and assessment of the Black-footed ferret (BFF) recovery and reintroduction program. The overarching goal of this 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:
This analysis will not only look at the biological aspects of BFF recovery and reintroduction but also program administration, education/outreach, marketing, development, and communications. These aspects are critical for successful species recovery.
For additional information about black-footed ferrets and the history of Federal, State, Tribal and other organizational efforts in ferret recovery and reintroduction, please refer to the Resources and Reports section at the bottom of this webpage.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) will focus on four key issue-areas which are directly related to the ultimate success for BFF recovery throughout its historic range. These issue-areas include: 1) Disease; 2) Reintroduction; 3) Managed Care; and 4) Overall administration of the program and resultant outreach/communication/engagement challenges and opportunities. The primary target audiences include Federal and State agencies, non-governmental conservation organizations, decision makers, and the general public.
AZA staff will be the lead for this project and will be supplemented with key subject matter experts from Federal/State agencies, Native American tribes, AZA institutional members, academia, and conservation organizations.
To accomplish the stated objectives in this proposal, a series of 2-3 day virtual workshops will be conducted over the course of 2021 to assess current program status and identify priority actions related to each of the four issue-areas identified above.
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. The committee is currently made up of:
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
In addition, steering committees have been established for the respective issues-area related to this analysis. The composition of those steering committees is as follows:
Managed Care Steering Committee
Chair: Paul Marinari, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
Della Garelle, USFWS National Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center
Klaus Peter Koepfli, Mason School of Conservation/George Mason University
Rachel Santymire, Georgia State University
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
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)
A link to the below reports can be found here.
Virtual workshops will take place throughout 2021. A report will be produced from each workshop, posted online, and also sent to our BFF distribution list. A final report with priority findings and recommendations will be sent to USFWS and stakeholders in January 2022. To join the BFF distribution list or to submit comments and questions about the reports and workshops, please fill out the Contact Form below.
NOTE: As with all workshops, there is always the possibility of overlooking key participants and stakeholders. We apologize in advance for any oversight. Since all workshops will be virtual in nature, there will be some limitations as far as open microphones. Most participants will be in listen only mode but will be able to submit questions through the Zoom chat function.
Disease Workshop: February 26; March 5 and March 12, 2021 from 8:30 am MT/10:30am ET until 3:00pm MT/5:00pm ET for each session. NOTE: Suggested reading and workshop recordings are provided in the resources and reports section above.
Reintroduction Workshop: TBD but tentatively looking at late May-early June 2021
Managed Care Workshop: TBD but tentatively looking at mid-late August 2021
Administration/Outreach Workshop: TBD but tentatively looking at late October-early November 2021
Final wrap-up workshop: TBD but tentatively looking at early December 2021.
Suggested reading and draft agenda for Disease Workshop: