WASHINGTON, January 15, 2013 - The United States Cattlemen's Association (USCA) and other agricultural groups say they need more time to study a controversial plan to reintroduce black-footed ferrets in 12 western states through an "enhancement of survival" permit under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

"The general populace has not had time to review the notice nor to conduct adequate research about the plan in order to understand its effect,” said Jon Wooster, USCA President. The groups sent a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Dan Ashe, requesting a delay to the FWS plan.

Official notice of the plan was published in the December 19, 2012 Federal Register and allows only a 30-day comment period, which closes January 18, 2013. 

“The black-footed ferret reintroduction is directly tied to prairie dog populations across the west; prairie dogs are the ferret's principle prey,” Wooster added.  “As we know from past experience, this is a highly contentious subject and this plan deserves much more public dialogue before the comment period closes and decisions are made about moving the plan forward.  Therefore, the USCA board of directors has voted to request that this reintroduction plan be delayed indefinitely."

The 12 states affected by the reintroduction plan are Kansas, Colorado, Arizona, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.  

To view the letter click here




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