Black-Footed Ferret

Black-footed ferrets are North America’s only native ferret species, and one of its most endangered mammals.

  • Common Name:

    Black-footed ferret

  • Scientific Name:

    Mustela nigripes

  • Weight:

    Up to 2.5 pounds

  • Conservation Status:


  • Size:

    Head and body: 18-24 inches

  • Where to See:

    Aubrey Valley (outside of Seligman)

A black-footed ferret


Black-footed ferrets are slender, wiry animals with black facemasks, black feet and black-tipped tails. They live in prairies and grassland, dependent on the habitat’s prairie dogs as a food and shelter source.

Back in the mid 1970’s, it was believed that the species had been completely wiped out until a colony was found in Wyoming. A captive breeding program was started by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the mid ‘80s.

Saving a Species

Efforts to conserve and protect black-footed ferrets in Arizona took an important step forward in September 2018. Wild-born black-footed ferrets were translocated across state lines for the first time and, along with a group of captive-born ferrets, were released into Aubrey Valley in northwest Arizona.

Before being released, the 28 ferrets were fitted with telemetry collars so they could be monitored and provide AZGFD biologists with key information to inform future efforts. The initiative’s goal is to determine whether captive or wild-born ferrets have a higher success/survival rate and monitor the animals released.

While the ferrets were tracked for four weeks using the collars, we continue our monitoring efforts through biannual spotlighting and trapping events in the 3 sites where they were reintroduced.

A black-footed ferret in the grass.

Our Mission

To conserve Arizona’s diverse wildlife resources and manage for safe, compatible outdoor recreation opportunities for current and future generations.

Ready To Get Involved?

Spotlighting and trapping events are open to volunteers and provide a unique opportunity to participate in wildlife on-the-ground conservation.

For more information on events and availability, contact:

The Black-Footed Ferret Project
PO Box 397
Seligman, Arizona 86337
(928) 422-0155

Subscribe to our Newsletter