ARIZONA NEWS

Phoenix Zoo has best black-footed ferret breeding season in 20 years

Aug 4, 2021, 4:00 PM

(Phoenix Zoo Photo)...

(Phoenix Zoo Photo)

(Phoenix Zoo Photo)

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Zoo had its most successful black-footed ferret breeding season in 20 years, with 27 kits born since May.

The six litters of the endangered species were born in about a month to mothers Mandolin, Lazuli, Ridley, Sedona, Vermillion, Yoshi and Jarvis, their father.

“It has certainly been a banner year for ferret kits at the Conservation Center,” Dr. Tara Harris, director of conservation and science, said in a press release.

The litters are being raised inside specially designed nest boxes at the zoo’s Arthur L. and Elaine V. Johnson Conservation Center.

The zoo is asking for the public’s help in naming Sedona’s litter of three females, who are about 2 months old.

Suggestions were offered by zoo staff, narrowed down by Conservation Center staff and then grouped into three categories.

The three categories are Arizona towns (Strawberry, Payson, Bisbee), Marvel Universe characters (Wanda, Scarlet, Agatha) and desert plants (Saguaro, Cholla, Prickly Pear).

Voting is live now and will remain open through Aug. 13 at 10 a.m. Winners will be announced Aug. 16.

“We are hopeful that the kits produced at the Phoenix Zoo will be valuable contributors to the recovery of their species,” Harris said.

The Johnson Conservation Center at the Phoenix Zoo is one of six facilities across the world that breed black-footed ferrets for release to the wild, producing over 500 in the past 30 years.

The ferrets are released into the wild in prairie grasslands in Arizona and other parts of their native environment.

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Phoenix Zoo has best black-footed ferret breeding season in 20 years