Black-Footed Ferret (Mustela nigripes) – Endangered The black-footed ferret is a medium-sized mustelid, weighing ~1.4-2.5 pounds and measuring 19-24 inches in total length, including a 5-6 in tail. It is slender and wiry, with black feet, a black face mask, and a black-tipped tail. Black-footed ferrets are highly specialized predators that depend upon prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) for survival. The black-footed ferret is an important member of the Great Plains prairie ecosystem. It keeps prairie dog populations in check, and plays a unique role that cannot be filled by any other animal. The black-footed ferret is the only ferret native to North America.
Canada Lynx (Lynx canadensis) – Threatened Status under review and is in the process of being delisted The Canada lynx is a medium-sized cat with long ear tufts, a flared facial ruff, and short, bobbed tail with a completely black tip. It has very large paws which act like snowshoes in deep snow. Lynx play an important ecological role. As a mid-sixe carnivore, lynx target smaller prey species that reproduce relatively quickly (such as the snowshoe hare). By protecting lynx, we protect rare and dwindling habitats that comprise some of the most pristine wilderness remaining in the U.S. and Montana. Lynx are specialized hunters and target snowshoe hare. Lynx can only thrive in areas where there are adequate snowshoe hare populations.
Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) – Threatened The Greater Yellowstone population has been declared recovered but other populations are still considered threatened. Grizzly bears have concave faces, a distinctive hump on their should, and very long claws (2-4 inches long). Grizzlies can range in color from very light cream to black, but are typically dark brown. They have long guard hairs on their backs and shoulders which are often white tipped, giving them a ‘grizzled’ appearance. Adult males weigh 300-850 lbs; females weigh 200-450 lbs. Grizzlies have a lifespan of 20-25 years. Grizzly bears are considered an ‘umbrella species’, meaning when we protect them and their habitat, many other species also get protection. Grizzlies also help ecosystems by distributing seeds and nutrients through their scat, and occasionally regulating ungulate populations.
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