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Toronto Zoo Announce Birth of Black Footed Ferret Kits

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: July 17, 2021 1:00 am

Black Footed Ferret Kit Toronto Zoo

A black footed ferret kit born during the 2021 breeding season is held by a keeper at the Toronto Zoo in Canada

Photo Credit: Toronto Zoo

Toronto Zoo in Canada have announced the birth of sixteen black footed ferret kits as part of their successful breeding program for this species.

Breeding black footed ferrets is a highly specialized program that begins with coordinators of the breeding program ranking the animals at the zoo and determining their preferred pairings to ensure good genetic diversity.

Keepers then work to pair the ferrets so they will mate. They then perform tests to see if mating was successful and wait 43 days to see if they welcome a litter of kits. Monitoring is performed by closed-circuit cameras which ensures little disturbance.

Black Footed Ferret Kit Toronto Zoo

A black footed ferret kit born during the 2021 breeding season is held by a keeper at the Toronto Zoo in Canada

Photo Credit: Toronto Zoo

Black footed ferrets are notoriously picky about their mates with Coconut proving the most popular mate this year. Of 21 adult ferrets cared for at Toronto Zoo only four females successfully bred this year.

The first three kits were born on May 19th, followed by a litter on five on June 1st, four on June 3rd and finally four on June 10th 2021.

Toronto Zoo manage their breeding program for the black-footed ferret in an off-display region of the zoo. They first joined the program in 1992 and are one of only six facilities in the world breeding the endangered species.

Since Toronto Zoo entered the breeding program they have raised 400 kits with many of these being released in to the wilds of the USA, Canada and Mexico.

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Black footed ferrets were though to be extinct until a small population was rediscovered during 1981. These animals were the beginning of the captive breeding program which has seen numbers increase to 300 across four populations which are now considered self-sustaining.

“Reintroducing the black-footed ferret is of great conservation significance,” said Dolf DeJong, CEO, your Toronto Zoo. “By reintroducing an endangered species back into the North American prairies, your Zoo and its many partners have proven that species-at-risk recovery programs can be successful. We are very excited and hopeful for the continued recovery of the black-footed ferret population,” he added.

Black Footed Ferret Kit Toronto Zoo

A black footed ferret kit born during the 2021 breeding season is held by a keeper at the Toronto Zoo in Canada

Photo Credit: Toronto Zoo

Learn more about Black Footed Ferrets here – Black Footed Ferret Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about the Toronto Zoo on their website – Toronto Zoo

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