One of North America's most endangered species has received a boost, thanks to collaborative efforts between the federal government and the State of Wyoming.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with the support of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, has finalized a rule designating Wyoming as a special area for the reintroduction of the endangered black-footed ferret.

The new rule will make it easier for willing landowners to host ferrets on their property.

"Private landowners are key to the success of the black-footed ferret recovery effort," said Noreen Walsh, Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Mountain-Prairie Region. "We are pleased to be working with the state to give Wyoming landowners the comfort level they need to consider establishing ferrets on their property. Black-footed ferrets were originally rediscovered in Wyoming after they were thought to have gone extinct, so it is fitting that this rule will allow more of them to return home."

"This new rule is a good fit for Wyoming because it builds on voluntary efforts by landowners and recognizes the role they play in species conservation," said Scott Talbott, Director of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. "The final rule should have positive impacts on black-footed ferrets and Wyoming can continue to play a leading role in the conservation of this species."

Once thought to be extinct, a remnant population of black-footed ferrets was discovered in the 1980s near Meeteetse. Upon that discovery, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department founded a successful captive breeding program from those animals, which continues to this day.

There are no immediate plans to reintroduce ferrets in Wyoming, but the Wyoming Game and Fish Department will work with landowners who want to volunteer to host a reintroduction.