Black-footed ferrets are "one of the most endangered animals in the world," according to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The two-foot-long mammals - who look similar to pet ferrets - vanished from the wild late last century, felled by the twin blasts of plague and culled prairie dogs, the ferrets' main source of prey.
But thanks to releases following a captive breeding program, the ferrets once again have a toehold in parts of their historic habitats. Arizona Game and Fish Department director Larry Voyles said: "No question the black-footed ferret is an epic conservation success story," the Tucson Sentinel reports. Some 500 wild ferrets and 300 captive ferrets can trace their origins back to just 18 animals captured in 1985.
(YouTube/Arizona Game And Fish)