Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version

April 1987


Past management of the prairie dog has more often than not resulted in the reduction of prairie dog ecosystems upon which one endangered species, the black-footed ferret, depends. This species and over 400 other species found in the United States and its Territories are currently protected by the Endangered Species Act. The current Endangered Species Act had its start in 1964. At that time, the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife selected a committee of individuals to determine which animal species in the United States were threatened or endangered with extinction. These individuals, with the help of some 300 other persons and organizations, compiled the first tentative list of rare and endangered wildlife. The black-footed ferret was listed at that time as one of 135 endangered species. In June 1965, the ferret was accorded protection by the Assistant Secretary for the Fish and Wildlife Service, through a policy that recognized the black-footed ferret as an endangered species closely associated with and believed dependent on the prairie dog for food and shelter. This policy stated that while the Department of the Interior has a responsibility for protecting the black-footed ferret, it was also responsible for the control of animals that were considered significantly detrimental to the best interest of man.