USDA Blog: Wildlife Partners Unite to Protect Iconic Species

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Wildlife Partners Unite to Protect Iconic Species from Deadly Plague

Posted by Gail Keirn, APHIS Legislative and Public Affairs (970-266-6007)


In August, researchers, wildlife biologists and managers from several federal, state and local agencies gathered at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services’ (USFWS) National Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center to celebrate a breakthrough in wildlife management— the development of an oral vaccine bait that helps protect prairie dogs against deadly sylvatic plague and assists in the recovery of endangered black-footed ferrets (BFF). Sylvatic plague, caused by Yersinia pestis, is a bacterial disease transmitted by fleas that afflicts many mammalian species, including humans.

“It takes collaboration to save our endangered wildlife,” said Pete Gober, USFWS’ Black-footed Ferret Recovery Coordinator. “Our partners at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and many other agencies have worked tirelessly to bring a simple idea to life— help recover black-footed ferrets in specific locations throughout the West by protecting their primary food source, the prairie dog.”

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