The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in collaboration with numerous Native American Tribes and the Arizona Game and Fish Department, finalized a law extending the restoration of empirical populations of the cat to much of Arizona’s northern and southern regions, including Cultural lands, as part of ongoing efforts to conserve the endangered black-footed species. The new regulation will make it simpler for managers and charity owners to keep ferrets on their property.
According to Southwest Regional Director Amy Lueders, the Endangered Species Act’s flexibilities, such as section 10 ( j ), which continue to be crucial in achieving recovery goals for listed species, have given one of the most endangered mammals in North America a boost today. The treatment of the black-footed ferret is still possible thanks to the modern, tenacious, and determined activities taken by our Service staff members, Tribes, federal, state, local, conservation organizations, as well as private citizens.
The plague, which the 10( j ) rule in Arizona will help to address by facilitating the establishment of additional suitable reintroduction sites, is the biggest threat to ferret recovery. Under section 10( j ) of the ESA, Congress added a provision for” non-essential, experimental” populations. Through special regulations allowing incidental take of black-footed ferrets, provided the take is unintentional and not the result of negligent conduct, the 10( j ) designation increases management flexibility and discretion. Concerns that reintroductions may limit the use of private, Tribal, or public lands will be addressed by using the 10( j ) rule.
The Service was able to reestablish black-footed ferrets in Arizona in 1996 as well as at 11 other locations across the former range thanks to the flexibility provided by 10 ( j ) rules. There are several possible sites on secret, state, Tribal, and federal lands, though certain new restoration sites in Arizona have not been chosen. Owners will be able to manage their property without worrying that they might break the law by unintentionally hurting a ferret thanks to the special concessions under the 10( j ) rule.
According to Service Field Supervisor Heather Whitlaw, the law” even shows the Service’s devotion to Tribal sovereignty and fulfilling our trust responsibility to help Tribes manage their natural resources while working in a spirit of co-stewardship and cooperation to restore species.” In order to complete the new 10 ( j ) expansion and increase opportunities for species reintroduction within its historic range, the Hualapai Tribe and Navajo Nation, along with their continued support, were crucial.