Wildlife officials hope to restore a population of black-footed ferrets to a pair of Wyoming ranches where the species was rediscovered in the wild 35 years ago.
The 35 ferrets will be among as many as 220 captive-bred ferrets released in Wyoming, Montana, Colorado and Kansas this year. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service breeds the ferrets at a facility in northern Colorado.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department plans to release ferrets on the adjoining Pitchfork and Lazy BV ranches in western Wyoming in late July. Biologists had thought the black-footed ferret was extinct until a dog on the Lazy BV brought one home in 1981.
Scientists captured the remaining ferrets to begin a captive-breeding program that has released hundreds of ferrets into the wild since the early 1990s.