You've probably never heard of the black-footed ferret, and that's probably because they've been extinct for 35 years. However, researchers are bringing the ferret back to Colorado.

The main prey of black-footed ferrets are prairie dogs which, if you live in Colorado, you know are in abundance here. The one problem to bringing this species back? According to National Geographic, disease, and particularly the sylvatic plague:

Because the disease is non-native, the black-footed ferret—a member of the weasel family—has no natural resistance; neither does its prey, the prairie dog.


Colorado Parks and Wildlife has reintroduced the mammals on Walker Ranch, and are now working to improve survival of the species. They've been studying the animal with 50 remote cameras that have taken more than 400,000 photos.

Bonus: they're really, really cute. Check out the photos right here:

Animals of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo


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