Soapstone Natural Area is owned by the City of Fort Collins and is located in Northern Colorado near the Wyoming border. In September of 2014 US Fish and Wildlife Service reintroduced Black-Footed Ferrets to two different prairie dog colonies in this area in an effort to increase their wild populations and facilitate their recovery. This site is one of 21 sites across the country where ferrets have been reintroduced.
The CSU TWS Camera Project in conjunction with the USFWS and CPW are monitoring this recovery effort. Colorado State students and Fort Collins Natural Areas Staff (along with the help of the Rocky Mountain Cat Conservancy) set up six cameras throughout the ferrets’ habitat on two large prairie dog colonies that are maintained and checked bimonthly by CSU students. This data is then sorted by students and along with data on survival and other metrics from the USFWS is used to assess ferret success and their impact on the ecosystem.
This reintroduction and its monitoring are part of an effort to return parts of Colorado to its historical ecologic state. More information on the BFF recovery effort (not associated with TWS Camera Project or our monitoring efforts) can be found at http://www.blackfootedferret.org.
All photos from this project are available to CSU TWS students for independent research. Other metrics such as survival rates (from collars on ferrets) from USFWS are also available. If you are interested in using this data please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.