If you followed along with our black-footed ferret updates, you already know the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute has been working with and breeding ferrets for more than 33 years. This year, we had 52 kits born at the facility.
Earlier in October, our black-footed ferrets slated for breeding centers and wild release departed Smithsonian’s Conservation Biology Institute. I had the pleasure of driving 27 black-footed ferrets, including Potpie’s kits, to Louisville Zoo in Louisville, Kentucky. It was about an eight-hour drive and I only had to stop once to get fuel.
The ferrets are loaded in the back of the van in kennels, similar to what you would transport your cat or small dog in. Each ferret received a frozen-thawed rat as food for the trip. Overall, the trip was uneventful and all the ferrets made it safely to their destinations.
As we mentioned in our last update, Potpie was selected for reintroduction and is now part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s pre-conditioning program. Once she adjusts to living in outside burrows and shows she can successfully catch a live prairie dog, she will be released into the wild, most likely somewhere in Colorado.