The Black-footed Ferret (Mustela nigripes) is a small carnivorous North American prairie animal closely related to the Steppe Polecat from Russia, and a member of the diverse family Mustelidae which also includes weasels, mink, polecats, martens, otters, and badgers. It should not be confused with the domesticated ferret.
The Black-footed Ferret is an endangered mammal in North America, according to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). They became extirpated in the wild in Canada in 1937, and were classified as endangered in the U.S. in 1967. The last known wild population was taken into captivity in 1985, a few years after its accidental discovery in Meeteetse, Wyoming. Release of captive animals has successfully re-introduced the species to parts of its former habitat, and currently these populations have made what has been called an "astonishing comeback".