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Species at Risk

Black-footed Ferret

Mustela nigripes

What is the status of the Black-footed Ferret?

In 1978, COSEWIC designated the Black-footed Ferret as a species extirpated from Canada.

In 2003, the Species at Risk Act was enacted in Canada. Under this law, a national recovery strategy for the Black-footed Ferret must be put in place by June 2007.

Why is the Black-footed Ferret in danger?

The main causes for the extirpation of the Black-footed Ferret from Canada are:

  • Close-up of a Black-tailed Prairie Dog
    The Black-tailed Prairie Dog is the only known food of the Black-footed Ferret.
    © Parks Canada / W.Lynch / 08.81.10.01(01) / 1981
    Habitat loss
  • Decline in prairie dog populations (due to habitat loss and efforts to eradicate the species, which is considered a pest)
  • Fur trapping (particularly in the early 20th century)
  • Poisoning by pesticides intended for prairie dogs
  • New diseases brought over from Europe