The black-footed ferrets prey on prairie dogs so it was once thought that elimination programs for the dogs, considered a nuisance to farmers and ranchers, were impacting the ferret population. Now, there was a concerted effort by the state to rebuild the black-footed ferret population. On a recent day, volunteers made their way to small-town Seligman and met for training on the first night inside a rented home in a rural neighborhood that Arizona Game and Fish uses for the operation. One of those volunteers is Robert Coonrod, who bought a pick-up truck and rigged it with overhead lights specifically for the night-time searches. Robert Coonrod has been volunteering for five years. Though hes not a biologist, he enjoys helping out wildlife and found a new photography hobby while volunteering. HUNTERS TURN TO HIPSTERS TO HELP BOOST SPORTS DECLINING NUMBERS One of the volunteers is Robert Coonrod, who bought a pick-up truck and rigged it with overhead lights specifically for the night-time searches. ( Fox News) Were looking for a ferret to be outside his hole. We drive down, he gets curious, looks at the lights, you see the green eyes shine, and then its off to the races, Robert Coonrod said. Once the animalis spotted, volunteers run towardit and set up a trap. But they have to first hopscotch around prairie dog burrows that dot the landscape. Sometimes it can be very entertaining watching people run across a prairie dog colony because youre so focused on the ferret that you forget about all these holes on the ground, Holly Hicks said. Yeah, every one of us has tripped and fallen in a prairie dog hole after chasing after a ferret. ARIZONA MAN PICKED UP NEWBORN FAWN, TOOK IT TO LOCAL BAR, OFFICIALS SAY With freezing temperates on the first night of the search, around 10 of the volunteers showed up, including Arizona State Univerisity biology graduate Angelica Varela, who will soon be starting an internship with Bird Conservancy of the Rockies. With freezing temperates on the first night of the search, around 10 of the volunteers showed up( Fox News)( When I started) volunteering( for other wildlife organizations) and really getting boots on the ground and realizing the hard work that actually goes into it, its really important and its really satisfying being able to know that you had a part in helping a species, as conservation work, I mean were doing this so that eventually we dont have to keep doing it. Angelica Varela drove up from Phoenix with Angelica Varela friend, Brandi Kapos, who is an Olive Garden waitress and an Arizona State Univerisity conservation biology graduate. Shes looking to return to school to get a masters degree in Geographic Information Systems. Before Angelica Varela and Brandi Kapos got their assignment from Jennifer Cordova for the night, they said they had energy drinks and candy. Angelica Varela said Angelica Varela was pumped. With freezing temperates on the first night of the search, around 10 of the volunteers showed up, including Arizona State Univerisity biology graduates Angelica Varela and Brandi Kapos. ( Fox News) Jennifer Cordova said the goal is to get the black-footed ferret off the endangered species list. Fox News important because wildlife dont have a say -- theydont have a voice out there, Holly Hicks said. So, its people like us who manage and try to keep that voice out there and people aware. Our passion comes from a lot of places. We love animals. We want to see wildlife in the future for future generations. Only found in North America, this wild animal differs from the European pet ferrets that are domesticated. The black-footed ferret was once thought extinct until 18 were found in 1981. Since then, recovery and breeding efforts have helped the black-footed ferret population grow. I kind of feel like its our duty.
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