News Search

Ferrets find temporary home on F.E. Warren

  • Published
  • By Glenn S. Robertson
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs

A species once thought to be extinct has a temporary home here on base.

Seven black-footed ferrets were released Oct. 11, 2022, into a temporary den on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, before they are released into the wild in about a month.

The ferret was thought to be extinct when the last one died in captivity in 1979, but then a colony was discovered in 1981 near Meeteetse, and a recovery program was launched.

Today, personnel from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife services brought the ferrets from their breeding facilities at the Smithsonian Zoo in Front Royal, Virginia. and the Louisville Zoological Garden in Louisville, Kentucky.

The ferrets will spend about a month preconditioning in the facility, getting used to the Rocky Mountain prairie climate they’ll be released into, according to Tyler Tretten, a fish & wildlife biologist with the USFWS.

Allowing the ferrets to get acclimated to their new environments greatly improves their survival rate in the wild.

“Studies have shown that preconditioning, rather than releasing them straight out of the cage, raises their survival rate by 10 times,” said Tretten.

The facility on F.E. Warren was built around 20 years ago, and has been used to precondition ferrets since then, although there have been some breaks in those two decades.