On November 6, 1981, a small population of black-footed ferrets, a species thought extinct, was discovered near the town of Meeteetse, Wyoming. The black-footed ferret is a small nocturnal mammal about 50 centimeters (20 inches) long, with a furry 15-centimeter (6-inch) tail. Black-footed ferrets live in the prairies of the American West, where up to 90% of their diet consists of prairie dogs. A number of factors contributed to the population decline of the black-footed ferret: disease, habitat loss, and the eradication of prairie dogs due to their threats to livestock.Since 1991, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service—along with private landowners and zoos—have been breeding black-footed ferrets in captivity and reintroducing them into the wild. Although still an endangered species, the wild population of black-footed ferrets has grown from the 18 animals discovered in 1981 to more than 1,000.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry diet Noun
foods eaten by a specific group of people or other organisms.
Encyclopedic Entry: diet disease Noun
harmful condition of a body part or organ.
endangered species Noun
organism threatened with extinction.
Encyclopedic Entry: endangered species extinct Adjective
no longer existing.
environment where an organism lives throughout the year or for shorter periods of time.
Encyclopedic Entry: habitat livestock noun, plural noun
animals raised for sale and profit.
animal with hair that gives birth to live offspring. Female mammals produce milk to feed their offspring.
active at night.
total number of people or organisms in a particular area.
large grassland; usually associated with the Mississippi River Valley in the United States.
Encyclopedic Entry: prairie