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Help Needed To Document Endangered Black-Footed Ferret Numbers

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is once again seeking dedicated volunteers to help document endangered black-footed ferret numbers.

As part of the black-footed ferret recovery effort, Game and Fish personnel scheduled two fall-spotlighting events, which serve as the method used to document the population of this elusive, nocturnal and endangered carnivore.

The first period was Sept. 24 to 28, but the remaining one is Oct. 22 to 26. Those wishing to assist can volunteer for one night or multiple nights. The effort is conducted at the black-footed ferret-recovery area in Aubrey Valley, west of Seligman.

Twice thought to be extinct, a small population of black-footed ferrets was discovered in 1981. Only 18 were left when captive breeding efforts began in 1985. In 1996, Arizona's Aubrey Valley was selected as a reintroduction site.

Volunteers can witness the processing of the animals, which allows researchers to understand population, longevity and movement throughout the range.

Volunteers must be able to stay attentive from sunset to sunrise and be willing to learn how to use a Global Positioning System (GPS). A parent or guardian must accompany any youth under 18.

Those wishing to volunteer, or needing more information, should e-mail azferret@azgfd.gov by Oct. 19 for the remaining opportunity. Please write "Fall Spotlighting" with " "October" in the subject line. Individuals should indicate which night(s) they are available. They also should include their full name, a contact phone number, and whether anyone else will be attending with them.

Additional information will be sent following contact, including meeting location and times.

Volunteers also should note any of the following equipment they can bring: GPS, clipboard, headlamp, pen, binoculars, walkie-talkies, 4x4 vehicle (please list passenger capacity), compass, or a spotlight that is either rechargeable or can plug into a cigarette lighter.

The weather can be cool, so individuals need to dress appropriatel


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