black-footed ferret


: a rare weasel (Mustela nigripes) of western North American prairies having a yellowish coat, dark feet and facial mask, and a dark-tipped tail

Illustration of black-footed ferret

Illustration of black-footed ferret

Examples of black-footed ferret in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Those species include our own California condor, our black-footed ferret, and our Guam rail, as well as the Arabian oryx, the Przewalski’s horse, and the Père David’s deer. Jared Diamond, Discover Magazine, 11 Nov. 2019 In the early 1900s, black-footed ferrets burrowed throughout the American West, according to Pete Gober, the Fish and Wildlife Service's national black-footed ferret recovery coordinator. Sabrina Imbler New York Times, Star Tribune, 18 Feb. 2021 Meanwhile, a seemingly apolitical project at the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin, to study the impacts of the virus on the endangered black-footed ferret was shuttered last month. Eve Sneider, Wired, 9 Oct. 2020 Just 200 black-footed ferrets, more than half of the world’s remaining population, are left in Conata Basin and the surrounding Badlands National Park. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 15 June 2023 Once extinct in North America, black-footed ferrets have made a comeback because of breeding programs like the one the zoo runs. Dana Hedgpeth, Washington Post, 18 June 2023 Reintroduction began in Arizona in 1996 after a 60-year hiatus and around 350 black-footed ferrets remain in the wild as of 2022. Jake Frederico, The Arizona Republic, 3 Mar. 2023 But although human vaccines function primarily as preventives, offering immunity to animals such as black-footed ferrets can be a conservation strategy of last resort. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 15 June 2023 Ceballos developed successful conservation strategies for endangered mammals in North America, including the black-footed ferret. Karl Schneider, The Indianapolis Star, 1 Mar. 2023 See More

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Word History

First Known Use

1846, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of black-footed ferret was in 1846

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Cite this Entry

“Black-footed ferret.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition

black-footed ferret

black-foot·​ed ferret
: an endangered weasel of western North American prairies having a yellowish coat, black feet and face markings, and a black-tipped tail

More from Merriam-Webster on black-footed ferret

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