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Black Footed Ferret Release

A female black-footed ferret peers out of a cage while being released on the Pitchfork Ranch.

MEETEETSE (AP) — A ranch in northern Wyoming where black-footed ferrets were discovered in the 1980s is being preserved.

The Nature Conservancy recently announced a conservation easement agreement to restrict the Lazy BV ranch's 2,300 acres near Meeteetse from being subdivided or developed.

The ranch is in the area where the ferrets were discovered in 1981 after they were thought to be extinct. The ferrets were used to start a captive-breeding program that has restored black-footed ferrets in Wyoming, Colorado, Montana and elsewhere in the western U.S.

Jim Luchsinger of The Nature Conservancy tells Wyoming Public Radio that it had been a dream of the ranch owners to protect the ranch and bring ferrets back.

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The protected land is also home to greater sage-grouse, mule deer, antelope and Yellowstone cutthroat trout.

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