AP Photo/Cliff Owen
Three black footed ferrets huddle in a temporary housing unit as animal keepers at the National Zoo’s conservation center in Front Royal, Va., rounded-up 26 ferrets for shipment to Fort Collins Colo., Sept. 28, 2011. This shipment marks an important moment in the recovery of a species once declared extinct. Researchers rediscovered the black-footed ferret in 1981 and collected the last 24 in Wyoming to try to save them. Now 1,000 are again living in the wild. Black-footed ferrets are the only ferret native to North America. At least a half million used to live on the Great Plains. Prairie dogs are their main food source. But development, disease and extermination of prairie dogs starved the ferrets.