Kansas nature center helps protect black-footed ferret

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LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A ferret species once thought to be extinct is making a modest comeback on the prairie, thanks to the work of staff at a Kansas nature center and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the Prairie Park Nature Center and volunteers from various institutions across Kansas have surveyed the black-footed ferret recovery site in Logan County annually for the last decade. Park staff members say they feel optimistic after a November trip to the 1,100-acre tract in western Kansas, where crews capture, tag and vaccinate the wild-born ferrets.

The World Wildlife Fund reports that there are only about 300 black-footed ferrets left in the U.S. Prairie Park staff say the animal's population decline is linked to the extermination of prairie dogs, the ferrets' main food.