Pete Gober (left) of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service helps members of the Walker family release a black-footed ferret on the family’s ranch. Photo by Judith Kohler
By Judith Kohler | 11.12.13
The state and federal biologists and ranchers Gary and Georgia Walker walked around the pasture, scouting the prairie dog burrows that dot the land. They were looking for the right spots to release their endangered cargo --black-footed ferrets, one of the rarest mammals in North America.
Not that it mattered. Soon after the slender, weasel-like creatures were coaxed out of the carriers and into holes, up popped their little heads with the bandit-like masks. As photographers, news reporters and the rest of the crowd milled about, the ferrets scurried across the ground in search of a better burrow. They weren't about to let the hoopla surrounding a major new milestone in recovery of their species ace them out of that sweet spot they were looking for.