Parks Canada is the lead federal agency in the recovery of the black-footed ferret into Grasslands National Park on October 2, 2009. The black-footed ferret was once an integral part of the black-tailed prairie dog ecosystem uniquely present in the park. This habitat and the species held within it are part of our national heritage and the return of this extirpated species is a source of pride for every Canadian.
Grasslands National Park of Canada protects, for all time, a representative part of the Prairie Grasslands Natural Region and encourages public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of the park’s natural and cultural heritage values, in ways that leave them unimpaired for future generations.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) continues to participate in and encourage the recovery of the black-footed ferret throughout its range. The species was first listed as endangered in 1967. Since the 1980’s, aggressive captive-breeding and reintroduction programs support recovering ferret populations in the wild. USFWS appreciates the enthusiastic collaboration and partnership with all U.S. and Canada partners and greatly appreciates the return of the black-footed ferret to the wilds of the Canadian grasslands.
We can sit back and watch species disappearing on this planet or we can take action! The return of the black-footed ferret to the Canadian wilds is truly an international effort and emphasizes the importance of establishing National Parks and the role zoo’s have in endangered species conservation.
The Toronto Zoo is involved in many recovery programs for endangered species and focuses on Canadian species at risk. We are the only Canadian organization breeding black-footed ferrets for reintroduction. Since 1992, Toronto Zoo has raised hundreds of kits for release into the wild in U.S. and Mexico. The Toronto Zoo spearheaded Canadian ferret recovery efforts in 2003 and will now be able to breed ferrets for release back to the Canadian prairies. The Toronto Zoo’s participation in this conservation breeding program has added a Canadian component to international ferret recovery efforts for the past 17 years.
The Calgary Zoo's research in Grasslands National Park on black-tailed prairie dog population dynamics will continue in conjunction with ferret research to promote the recovery and sustainability of black-tailed prairie dogs and black-footed ferrets, both of which are integral to healthy prairie ecosystems in Canada.
The Calgary Zoo is committed to ecosystem restoration and conducts conservation research on imperilled species in Western Canada.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) supports habitat for numerous wildlife species – including several Species at Risk – on some of the largest tracts of remaining native prairie in North America. AAFC’s Community Pasture Program employs livestock grazing to help maintain productivity and biodiversity, and as a means of promoting environmentally responsible land-use practices. As a result of this historic relationship with the land and its inherent wildlife, AAFC serves as a partner on the Black-Tailed Prairie Dog and Black-Footed Ferret Recovery Teams.
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is proud to be part of the recovery of one of North America’s most iconic and endangered species – the Black-Footed Ferret,” said Steve Forrest, Manager of Restoration Science for WWF’s Northern Great Plains Program and an expert on the species. “This project offers great hope that the black-footed ferret, once believed extinct, will rebound in the Canadian prairie and throughout the Northern Great Plains.
WWF has been collaborating with partners for years to help save the black-footed ferret and its prey in both the US and Canada. WWF helped organize and fund the first meeting of the Canadian Recovery Team for reintroduction of the black-footed ferret and its prey in both the US and Canada. WWF helped organize and fund the first meeting of the Canadian Recovery Team for reintroduction of the black-footed ferret in Val Marie, SK. in 2004. WWF has provided technical and financial assistance to the Recovery team since then, including funding of studies of prairie dogs in the release area through the Calgary Zoo. WWF will continue to be involved supporting the release with biologists and equipment as well as in monitoring the success of the newly released ferrets.
The Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment is very proud to be a part of the reintroduction of black footed ferret in Saskatchewan. We are very pleased and impressed with the dedication and commitment of all the partners to making this a success, particularly the local ranchers on whose land some of the ferrets will be released. Successful management of Saskatchewan’s natural biodiversity, including Species At Risk, relies on the participation and commitment of dedicated partners like these, and the support of local communities.
The Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment delivers a number of biodiversity conservation programs that ensure the sustainable management and use of the province’s fish and wildlife resources. The management of species at risk populations and their habitats is a critical program, and a fundamental component of Saskatchewan’s natural biodiversity.