New Mexico rancher welcomes endangered species onto his land

New Mexico

A New Mexico rancher has invited some new friends onto his property, hoping they’ll make life harder for the neighbors. 

On a ranch just 15 miles from Wagon Mound, New Mexico, “You’ve found the perfect place,” rancher Greg Moore said.

It ended up being just that, the perfect place to release eight black-footed ferrets. Rancher Greg Moore made the request in 2016, saying he’s all for re-introducing the species onto his property that used to be native in New Mexico. 

Then last September, in coordination with U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, it happened. “We’re going to try and prove that the little guy can make it,” Moore said.

Since his ranch has a high-number of prairie dogs, Moore says it needed ferrets. That’s because ferrets live in their burrows and prey on prairie dogs, helping to keep the population down.

Keeping black-footed ferrets alive is tough, however. They almost went extinct more than 30 years ago. Researchers say today, there’s nearly 300 left in North America. “We had a counting in the spring. We’ve got three left, which is not unusual for confinements rate ferrets to have that big of a death loss,” Moore said. 

Still, Moore says he’s not giving up just yet. “We’ll release some more this September and get the numbers back up until we get where the population corresponds with the prairie dog town,” he said. 

The release was only the third ever in New Mexico.

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