• Wind Cave National Park - Two Worlds

    Wind Cave

    National Park South Dakota

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  • Trail Closure Information

    The Highland Creek Trail is closed. Backcountry Zones 1 and 2 are closed to all off-trail travel and use. The Sanctuary and Centennial Trails remain open to through traffic.

  • Temporary Road Closure Information

    Oct. 18 & 19: NPS 5 and 6 are closed for the entire weekend. Monday, Oct. 20, through Wednesday, Oct. 22, NPS 5 will be closed from Highway 87 to NPS 6. Highway 87 will be closed from Road 342 (Beaver Creek Road) north to the park boundary.

Black-footed Ferrets Return to Wind Cave National Park

After a thirty-year absence, black-footed ferrets, one of the rarest animals in North America, have returned to Wind Cave National Park.
Biological technician Barb Muenchau releases the first black-footed ferret out of its artificial burrow into Wind Cave National Park.
NPS Photo

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News Release Date: July 5, 2007
Contact: Tom Farrell, 605-745-4600

WIND CAVE NATIONAL PARK, S.D. – After a thirty-year absence, black-footed ferrets, one of the rarest animals in North America, have returned to Wind Cave National Park. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service employees released seven animals in the park on July 4. The animals were captured in the Conata Basin near Wall and transported to the park on Wednesday.

 

“It has been thirty years since the last sighting of a black-footed ferret in Wind Cave National Park,” said acting superintendent Rick Mossman. “We hope this is the start of a self sustaining population that will restore a missing link to our mixed-grass prairie ecosystem.”

 

The release follows the completion of an environmental assessment this spring that called for the reintroduction of approximately 20 to 25 black-footed ferrets annually for the next three to five years. The ferrets are being reintroduced under a 10(a)(1)(A) scientific experimental/recovery permit issued under the Endangered Species Act. This permit allows experimental reintroductions to occur within park boundaries and provides mechanisms to ensure that private property interests outside the park are not impacted.

 

Management actions used to reintroduce ferrets and manage the prairie dog population will be consistent with the park’s recently completed prairie dog management plan that limits prairie dogs to a range of 1,000 to 3,000 acres within the park.

Did You Know?

Bull elk in the park.

A Rocky Mountain bull elk weighs between 700 - 800 pounds. Rocky Mountain elk were introduced to the park in 1914 and 1916. More...