Black-footed ferrets have become one of the most popular conservation success stories because of the miraculous rediscovery of the species after being declared extinct and the growing population today. The stability of the species is still highly variable as the ferrets are threatened by disease, habitat fragmentation, human infringement, and the extermination of their main prey item the prairie dog. The complexity of the issue arises from negative public perceptions of prairie dogs leading to less citizen support for protection which in turn undermines progress in black-footed ferret conservation. General issues with the bureaucracy of conservation helps to delay a formal protection of species at risk which would be especially important for species that are actively being removed or exterminated by humans like the prairie dog. Careful analysis of the black-footed ferret and the prairie dog through the lenses of their natural histories, conservation histories, and modern conservation methods suggest that the public’s opinion and support is the greatest tool for the protection of species at risk because of the complexity of conservation and the rallying bureaucratic motion.
- Black-footed Ferret Conservation History, Methodology, and Discussion