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10 of the cutest endangered species

By: Laura Moss on Sept. 20, 2012, 5:57 p.m.
Black-footed ferret

Photo: USFWS Mountain-Prairie/Wikimedia Commons

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Black-footed ferrets

The black-footed ferret is now considered one of America’s top conservation success stories even though the animal is still endangered. The species declined throughout the 20th century, primarily as result of a decrease in prairie dogs — the ferrets' main prey — which were exterminated as agricultural pests. In 1979, black-footed ferrets were declared extinct, but in 1981, Lucille Hogg's dog brought a dead one back to their Wyoming home, and scientists scrambled to find more, eventually locating a colony of 61 ferrets. Thanks to conservation efforts, about 1,000 of the animals are now thought to live across the central U.S.