Managing Prairie Dogs for Ferret Reintroduction (2016-9)

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Jun 26, 2017
A.M. Aramati Casper, Dorothy P. Hill, and Melanie K. Rathburn

This case study explores the ecological relationship between black-tailed prairie dogs and black-footed ferrets. The primary focus of this case is on the ecological consequences of a captive breeding and reintroduction program but since black-footed ferrets are listed as an endangered species, students will also explore social issues (where and how to reintroduce ferrets), and political dynamics of a species that crosses both state and national borders. This case is intended for biology majors taking a course in ecology but throughout the teaching notes, we provide variations on the case so that it could be used for undergraduate university students in an introductory class for majors or non-majors, or even an upper-level course in a related topic such as conservation biology. For access to the Answer Key, please contact Dr. Aramati Casper at or Cynthia Wei at

Estimated time frame: 
A few class periods or Units within course (i.e. multiple weeks)
SES learning goals: 
  • Understand the structure and behavior of socio-environmental systems
  • Consider the importance of scale and context in addressing socio-environmental problems
  • Find, analyze, and synthesize existing data, concepts, or methods
Has this been tested in the class room: 
Course and class size: 
Parts of this case have been tested in an Introductory Ecology course (20 students)
Does this case have an answer key: 
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