Travis Livieri is dedicated to saving black-footed ferrets Travis Livieri - Saving The Black-Footed Ferrets

Travis Livieri is executive director of Prairie Wildlife Research and holds BS and MS degrees in wildlife management. He has worked on the North American prairies for 13 years to restore the endangered black-footed ferret.

In 2008, sylvatic plague reached the Conata Basin, an area of South Dakota that was a previous safe haven for black-footed ferrets and one of the most successful sites for reintroducing the endangered black-footed ferret into the wild. Travis Livieri is one of the people working to save the black-footed ferrets, also known as BFFs.

sunday, May 1, 2011
Disappearing Prairie Dogs (part 2 of 2)

I’m in western Kansas with my colleagues to figure out what happened to all the prairie dogs at the black-footed ferret reintroduction site. Everyone wants to know what happened. Is it plague or some other devastating disease? Were they all poisoned? Did a massive group of migrating hawks and eagles eat every last prairie dog? Maybe it was an alien abduction. Maybe I should have gotten more sleep. View Blog>>

Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Disappearing Prairie Dogs (part 1 of 2)

I’m driving east on Highway 18, and I’ve just crossed into South Dakota from Wyoming on my way up to Conata Basin. During the next four nights, I will work with my partners in the U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service to spotlight black-footed ferrets on the frozen prairie. We have a few more areas to survey for this year and really want to capture and vaccinate more ferrets before the holiday season. View Blog>>

Friday, October 23, 2009
Our Home And Native Land: Canada Welcomes Back Black-Footed Ferrets

The pickup truck rocks back and forth with each gust of wind. The steel gray clouds race across the sky, and it’s only a matter of time before the rain begins. I hope it doesn’t rain. I’m driving on a lonely, prairie highway in northern Montana, about to cross the border into Canada. I really hope it doesn’t rain. View Blog>>

Saturday, August 1, 2009
Black-Footed Ferret Pilgrimage

Throughout history, many people have undertaken a pilgrimage for religious reasons (the oracle at Delphi, the Holy Land, Mecca) or to pay homage (grave of Shakespeare, Graceland). Recently I made my own pilgrimage to pay homage to a very special place. Well, at least a very special to me: Meeteetse, Wyoming. View Blog>>

Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Role Reversal For A Black-Footed Ferret

Tonight I’m accompanied by a film crew for Patrick McMillan’s Expeditions, a naturalist-conservation show that runs on PBS stations across the country. They are on a cross-country journey, exploring and documenting some of the wonderful plants, animals, people and ecosystems of our Great Plains. Patrick, the host, has become rather enamored with prairies, and his crew is just as excited and hard-working. View Blog>>

Monday, June 1, 2009
Black-Footed Ferret Secrets

The ground is pretty dry as I bump the pickup truck through another drainage to reach the prairie dog colony we call The South Exclosure. The sky is partly cloudy, and the wind is starting to increase. The grass is greening up from all the April precipitation. I turn on my spotlight and begin searching. View Blog>>

Friday, May 1, 2009
Black-Footed Ferret Flea Circus

I’m back in South Dakota and spotlighting black-footed ferrets. The weather has been extremely wet in the past few weeks as a series of storms has dropped copious amounts of snow and rain. View Blog>>

Monday, April 13, 2009
Earth Tones

The sun dips behind the Badlands to the west as I bump across the prairie in my pickup, headed toward the anesthesia trailer where I will meet up with the rest of tonight’s crew. There is a definite chill in the air, and I can tell it’s going to be a cool night. View Blog>>

Monday, March 23, 2009
Manna Of The Prairie

Norm and I are spotlighting for black-footed ferrets in Agate, despite the thunderstorm that crashed through at 3 a.m. It brought some rain, but the daytime temperature and breezes dried things out enough that we can gingerly navigate the prairie dog colonies without getting stuck. View Blog>>

MONday, March 9, 2009
Black-Footed Ferret Twilight Zone

I’ve been mostly in the office the past three months, collating and analyzing data from 2008. It has given me a chance to go through my data sheets and field notes and reflect upon some of the experiences from 2008. View Blog>>

Tuesday, november 18, 2008
Black-Footed Ferret Plague Update

The field season has slowed down now and allowed me time to rest and assess the progress we've made in the battle against plague. View Blog>>

Thursday, September 11, 2008
The Old Girl

The wind and rain are keeping me inside tonight. The weather has been cool, a reminder that fall is fast approaching. Despite the outbreak of plague, we have still found quite a few BFFs over the past few months, but there is no sign of her, the old girl. View Blog>>

Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Back In The Saddle

I'm back ... back in the saddle again. Now we're moving into a more intense phase of BFF work: capturing, microchipping and vaccinating under anesthesia. View Blog>>

Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Who'll Stop The Rain?

I have the gut feeling that it's still a little bit wet to effectively spotlight, but I'm on my way out to see how squishy the ground is. We received some significant rains over the weekend. View Blog>>

Monday, July 21, 2008
BFFs, Barbed Wire & Bigwigs

We're off to a good start tonight and several BFFs are located not long after sunset. Tonight I have Norm from the Forest Service and a graduate student, Dave, from the University of Missouri working with me. View Blog>>

Monday, July 14, 2008
Seeking BFFs At Heck Table

Off to a late start, and it rained a few hours ago. It is incredibly humid here right now. I'm having a tough time keeping my windshield free of moisture. View Blog>>

Wednesday, July 3, 2008
Nights On The Prairie

Our night of spotlighting begins. I'm capturing black-footed ferrets to facilitate vaccination against plague by the National Wildlife Health Center. View Blog>>

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