Resolution to Protect Black-footed Ferret

WHEREAS, the black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes) is the rarest land mammal in North America and appears to be on the verge of extinction; and

WHEREAS, the ferret is highly dependent on the existence of prairie dog colonies for survival and its precarious status is largely a consequence of intentional destruction of prairie dog colonies by man, both by cultivation and in his attempt to maximize forage available to livestock; and

WHEREAS, in addition to this great loss of habitat, the few remaining ferrets may be killed inadvertently by the use of compound 1080, strychnine, and fumigants for prairie dog control; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, recognizing that the use of zinc phosphide as a tool for managing prairie dog populations is both generally efficacious and does not pose a major threat to the ferret through either direct or secondary toxicity, has proposed that the use of strychnine for prairie dog control be cancelled;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the American Society of Mammalogists, recognizing that there is no practical means for determining the location of ferrets prior to poisoning operations, fully supports the intent of the proposed action by the Agency and recommends that the Administration implement this action on strychnine, initiate steps to either prohibit or highly restrict the use of compound 1080 and fumigants for prairie dog control, and encourage other agencies of the U.S. Government and those concerned states to develop ecologically rational plans to manage both prairie dogs and livestock so as to preserve adequate habitat for any ferrets that may still survive as well as other forms of native plants and animals that once flourished in our western grazing lands.