She is small, she is cute and she is a webcam star. But this little black-footed ferret, born April 15 at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va., does not have a name. So SCBI has teamed up with Smithsonian magazine to find her just the right name, and they are asking for votes.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the discovery of the last remaining wild black-footed ferret population and since then SCBI has perfected breeding techniques and, with partners, has successfully reintroduced this North American species to the wild. Voters can choose their favorite name on Smithsonian magazine's website and select one of four names that reflect these important conservation efforts:
Meeteetse: The name of the town in Wyoming where the last 18 black-footed ferrets were discovered in 1981 after they were thought to be extinct.
Rosebud: The name of one of 19 sites where captive-bred black-footed ferrets are released. This name comes from the site at the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
Shirley: The name of another release site, Shirley Basin, Wyo.
Cheyenne: The name of the release site at the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
Voting will remain open until Nov. 4 at noon, after which time the winning name will be announced on the Smithsonian's National Zoo's black-footed ferret cam, which features the currently nameless ferret kit.
Today the black-footed ferret is considered endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Since 1981, SCBI has been on the leading edge of developing innovative breeding techniques, such as artificial insemination, and has successfully produced 670 black-footed ferrets and reintroduced 220 individuals back into the wild.