Land trusts protect land directly by buying or accepting donations of either land or conservation easements. A conservation easement (or conservation restriction) is a legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits uses of the land to protect its conservation values, including wildlife habitat. It allows the landowner to continue to own and use the land and to sell it or pass it on to heirs. Land trusts also educate the public and advocate for the need to conserve land.
The U.S. Forest Service manages the National Forest System, comprising 193 million acres spread across 175 national forests and grasslands across the country. These lands sustain diverse ecosystems and support an incredible array of iconic animals such as grizzly bear, wolf, mountain lion, bighorn sheep, and wolverine.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) administers more than 245 million acres in 12 western states. The magnificent landscapes are home to species like sage grouse, pronghorn, and desert tortoise.
America’s National Wildlife Refuge System is the world’s largest network of protected areas dedicated to wildlife conservation. For more than a century, the refuge system has been integral to bringing species such as the whooping crane back from the brink of extinction. Each year, tens of millions of people visit and enjoy national wildlife refuges in every U.S. state and territory, infusing nearly $1.74 billion into local economies and creating more than 32,500 U.S. jobs.
Every species requires a certain set of environmental conditions to be able to move around, feed and reproduce. Whether it’s in the forest, grassland, desert, tundra, or ocean, the place where each species finds the conditions it needs to live and thrive is called its habitat.
Almost all populations of black-footed ferrets except those listed as non-essential experimental populations are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, meaning they are in danger of extinction within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.
Protection Status (IUCN Red List):
The black-footed ferret is listed as endangered, meaning it is considered to be facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild.
Height: 6 inches Length: 18-24 inches (including a 5-6 inch tail) Weight: 1.5-2.5 lbs; males slightly larger than females Lifespan: 3-4 years in the wild; 8-9 years in captivity
Black-footed ferrets were once found on black-tailed prairie dog colonies across the Great Plains from southern Canada to northern Mexico, and on white-tailed and Gunnison’s prairie dog colonies across the intermountain west. By 1986 they were completely gone from the wild. Today, they have been reintroduced to 15 locations within their former range in Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Kansas and Chihuahua, Mexico (2008).