Volunteers Sought For Arizona Ferret Spotlighting Effort
PHOENIX, AZ – -(Ammoland.com)- The Arizona Game and Fish Department is offering a rare opportunity for people wanting to assist in the recovery efforts of the endangered black-footed ferret.
Game and Fish will conduct its annual spring spotlighting effort from March 17-21 and needs volunteers to help document black-footed ferret numbers throughout the Aubrey Valley, just west of Seligman.
“Volunteers have always played a vital role in this recovery effort,” said Jeff Pebworth, wildlife program manager at the Game and Fish Kingman office.
“We don’t have the personnel available to fully staff these events and the program’s continued success depends on people remaining involved.”
This elusive, nocturnal animal was once the most endangered mammal on the planet. Twice thought to be extinct, a small population of black-footed ferrets was discovered in 1981. A mere 18 were left when captive breeding efforts began in 1985. In 1996, Arizona’s Aubrey Valley was selected as a reintroduction site.
In just the last nine years in Arizona, black-footed ferrets in Aubrey Valley have reached a population high enough to be considered self-sustaining, meaning no captive-bred ferrets are released. In 2009, the ferret reintroduction crew documented 60 individual ferrets, followed by a record 96 in 2010. The reintroduction in Arizona was possible because of the state’s Heritage Fund which, when matched with federal dollars, accounts for the project’s funding.
Individuals can volunteer for one or more dates. Volunteers must be able to stay attentive from sunset to sunrise, be able to carry up to 30 pounds while backpack-spotlighting for two-hour durations, and they must be willing to learn how to use a Global Positioning System (GPS). A parent or guardian must accompany any youth under 18.
Those wishing to volunteer, or needing more information, should e-mail [email protected] by March 11 with “March Spotlighting” in the subject line. Individuals should indicate which night(s) they are available to help; include a first and last name, a contact number, and if anyone else will be attending with them.
Additional information will be sent following contact, including meeting location and times.
Volunteers should also note any of the following equipment they can bring: GPS, clipboard, backpack (to carry a 30-pound battery), headlamp, pen, compass, binoculars, walkie-talkies, 4×4 vehicle (please list passenger capacity), compass, spotlight (that can plug into a cigarette lighter), or a cordless rechargeable spotlight. It can be cool during the March event, so please dress appropriately.