Agriculture
New Gene Fights Potato Blight
Earth-Friendly Fabrics
Microbes at the Gas Pump
Amphibians
Poison Dart Frogs
Frogs and Toads
Tree Frogs
Animals
Poor Devils
Cacophony Acoustics
From Chimps to People
Behavior
Mind-reading Machine
Making light of sleep
Internet Generation
Birds
Flightless Birds
Hawks
Cassowaries
Chemistry and Materials
Sticking Around with Gecko Tape
Supergoo to the rescue
Bang, Sparkle, Burst, and Boom
Computers
Toxic Dirt + Avian Flu = Science Fair Success
New eyes to scan the skies
The hungry blob at the edge of the universe
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Dino Babies
Digging Dinos
Ancient Critter Caught Shedding Its Skin
E Learning Jamaica
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Earth
Coral Islands Survive a Tsunami
Vitamin D-licious Mushrooms
Easy Ways to Conserve Water
Environment
Easy Ways to Conserve Water
What is groundwater
Pumping Up Poison Ivy
Finding the Past
Writing on eggshells
Traces of Ancient Campfires
Ancient Cave Behavior
Fish
Tilapia
Megamouth Sharks
Skates
Food and Nutrition
Making good, brown fat
In Search of the Perfect French Fry
Moving Good Fats from Fish to Mice
GSAT English Rules
Pronouns
Whoever vs. Whomever
Problems with Prepositions
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
Ministry of Education Announces 82 GSAT Scholarships for 2010
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
GSAT Scholarship
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
GSAT Exam Preparation
GSAT Mathematics
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Setting a Prime Number Record
Play for Science
Human Body
Germ Zapper
Hey batter, wake up!
Electricity's Spark of Life
Invertebrates
Caterpillars
Giant Clam
Black Widow spiders
Mammals
Bonobos
African Jackal
Beavers
Parents
How children learn
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
Physics
Gaining a Swift Lift
Powering Ball Lightning
Hold on to your stars, ladies and gentlemen
Plants
Farms sprout in cities
Surprise Visitor
When Fungi and Algae Marry
Reptiles
Crocodiles
Tortoises
Alligators
Space and Astronomy
An Icy Blob of Fluff
Asteroid Lost and Found
Planet Hunters Nab Three More
Technology and Engineering
Bionic Bacteria
Toy Challenge
Riding Sunlight
The Parts of Speech
Adjectives and Adverbs
What is a Verb?
What is a Preposition?
Transportation
Troubles with Hubble
Seen on the Science Fair Scene
How to Fly Like a Bat
Weather
Antarctica warms, which threatens penguins
Warmest Year on Record
Watering the Air
Add your Article

A Wild Ferret Rise

Black-footed ferrets used to be in big trouble. The furry long-necked creatures look like a cross between a raccoon and a weasel, and they are North America’s only native ferret species. By the late 1970s, however, scientists thought black-footed ferrets had become extinct in the wild.

Now, scientists say, some black-footed ferrets are surviving—and thriving—in the American West. In 2006, the researchers, from the University of Wyoming in Laramie, searched and found nearly 200 ferrets living in a part of Wyoming called Shirley Basin. The team’s surveys have shown rapid growth in the population since 2000.

Over the years, ferret numbers have mirrored the number of prairie dogs in the area. Prairie dogs—which are actually rodents, not dogs—make up 90 percent of what ferrets eat.

Ranchers and farmers have long viewed prairie dogs as pests, and they used to kill the little rodents. At the same time, diseases swept through the prairie dog community and wiped out many of them.

As their food supply declined, ferret populations suffered as well. In the 1970s, scientists tried to breed ferrets in captivity and introduce them into the wild. Their efforts failed, and biologists thought the animals had become extinct.

Then, in 1981, a rancher’s dog discovered black-footed ferrets near a town called Meeteetse, in northwest Wyoming. State wildlife managers trapped as many of the animals as they could. In total, they nabbed 18. Scientists from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C., then attempted to get these survivors to breed.

The researchers eventually persuaded seven ferrets to breed. Over many generations, the group and its offspring have successfully produced more than 4,800 animals.

The first 228 individuals that came out of the program went to live in the Shirley Basin. Soon after, disease struck prairie dogs living in the area. Surprisingly, the ferrets got sick, too.

Since then, biologists have taken ferrets that were raised in captivity and introduced them in 12 other places. At least two of these populations seem to be doing well. To know for sure if the reintroductions are working, scientists will have to carefully survey the animals and their progress, says Philip J. Seddon of the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand.

In the “bad old days of species reintroductions,” he says, scientists had the wrong attitude of “Let’s just chuck them out there and come back later to see if any survived.”

Another key to ferret survival is habitat protection. Without enough space to roam in and food to eat, the animals will suffer again.—Emily Sohn

A Wild Ferret Rise
A Wild Ferret Rise








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™