Black-footed ferrets were once near extinction when a small population was discovered in Wyoming in the mid-80's. The recovery of this critically endangered creature is one of our greatest success stories; yet the population remains unstable. The recovery center near Fort Collins raises ferrets until they are ready for release into the wild and has released more than 2,600 animals to date. This individual was released one week after I photographed him. The black-footed ferret is dependent on large, healthy prairie dog complexes. Habitat loss and predation of prairie dogs are their biggest threats. The Conservation Cente is located on the shortgrass prairie north of Fort Collins.