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Volunteers Can Help Spotlight Endangered Black-Footed Ferrets

Survey results shine light on recovery effort in Aubrey Valley, on Double O Ranch.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is seeking volunteers to assist with fall spotlighting efforts to help document the population of endangered black-footed ferrets in Aubrey Valley and on the Double O Ranch, both near Seligman.

As part of the recovery effort, the department has scheduled one more five-night spotlighting event on Oct. 5-9 – and a three-night spotlighting event Nov. 9-11.

The spotlighting method involves using high-powered lights to locate and identify black-footed ferrets. Their eyeshine is reflected by the spotlight and helps surveyors with identifying and locating these elusive, nocturnal carnivores.

Volunteers must have the ability to stay attentive from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. while spotlighting for black-footed ferrets and use, or learn how to use, a Global Positioning System (GPS). Volunteers can sign up by e-mailing azferret@azgfd.gov -- with "fall spotlighting" in the subject line – by Sept. 30 for the October event, and Nov. 3 for the November event. Space is limited.

Volunteers are reminded to include their full name, a contact phone number, month(s) and night(s) available to spotlight, and full names of others who also will be attending (a parent or guardian must accompany any youth under 18). Volunteers also should note any equipment they can bring, such as GPS, clipboard, headlamp, pen, binoculars, walkie-talkies, compass, cordless rechargeable spotlight, backpack or 4X4 vehicle.

These events will be conducted to assess the black-footed ferret population before winter. The objectives include trapping those animals that were not caught in the spring, to trap older ones that need a canine distemper or plague booster, and to trap juveniles (or "kits") to administer vaccinations.

For more information about the black-footed ferret recovery effort, visit the department's website at http://www.azgfd.com/wildlife and click on "Nongame and Endangered Wildlife."


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