The Lower Brule Sioux Tribe Department of Wildlife, Fish and Recreation, with funding support from the Maka Foundation, has reintroduced another indigenous species, the black-footed ferret, one of the rarest and the most endangered mammals species in North America.
On September 27th, 2006, Lower Brule Sioux Tribal member and Wildlife Biologist Shaun Grassel oversaw and coordinated the reintroduction of the black-footed ferrets to tribal lands. The short-term goal is breeding of the first wild-born generation of black-footed ferrets on the Lower Brule Sioux Reservation. The long-term goal is a self-sustaining black-footed ferret population that has survival and recruitment rates similar to other wild self-sustaining populations.
All black-footed ferrets are micro-chipped and monitored by conducting a spotlight search of prairie dog colonies and capturing observed animals for identification. Funding is needed to support a field crew and direct monitoring expenses. The field crew consists of one full-time technician, one seasonal technician, and one full-time biologist. Monitoring expenses includes vehicle costs and maintenance, and purchasing vaccines and microchips.
This project will help more than just the environment. It also generates jobs, creating revenue within the Reservation where poverty and high unemployment are major social problems.