Black Footed Ferrets
Meeteetse Museums to Host
FREE Event - BLACK FOOTED Ferret Days Celebration
CODY, WYOMING – Monday, September 26th, 2016 marks the 35th
Anniversary of the rediscovery ofblack footed ferrets in the Meeteetse area. To commemorate this important event, the Meeteetse Museums will host a celebration at the Cody Theatre, in downtown Cody, Wyoming from 5:30 – 7:30pm.
The event is free and open to the public, and all are encouraged to attend. The evenings events include a roster of speakers associated with the black footed ferret rediscovery and on-going recovery efforts, as well as film clips from an upcoming documentary film on the subject. Free refreshments
will be served.
In 1979, the black footed ferret, a member of the weasel family found only in North America, was thought to be extinct. Then, on the morning of Se
ptember 26th, 1981, a ranch dog named Shep brought a mysterious looking creature to the doorstep of his owners, John and Lucille Hogg of the
Lazy BV Ranch west of Meeteetse, WY. The Hoggs decided to have the animal mounted, but local taxidermist Larry LaFranchi correctly identified the rare species as a black footed ferret and alerted the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. A small population of black footed ferrets was
subsequently discovered on the neighboring Pitchfork Ranch, leading to what has been a 35 year process to recover the species.
Black footed ferrets were removed from the Meeteetse area in 1985 to establish the captive breeding program that saved the species from extinction. Finally, on July 26th of this year, 35 ferrets were returned to the Lazy BV Ranch and the Pitchfork Ranch. Successful captive breeding programs have led to the release of ferrets in the wild in approximately 28 different sites around the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
The Ferret Days Celebration will bring together several speakers to personally share the story of the black footed ferret rediscovery and return to the Meeteetse area. Speakers include: David Cunningham, Director of the Meeteetse Museums; Kris Hogg, daughter-in-law to John and Lucille
Hogg; Lenox Baker, current owner of the Pitchfork Ranch; Dennie Hammer, the biologist who first saw a live black footed ferret at the Pitchfork Ranch in 1981; and Zack Walker, Wyoming Game and Fish Biologist and Statewide Nongame Bird and Mammal Program Supervisor. Walker will update
the public on the ferret survey that is currently underway at the recent release sites.