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Report: South Dakota Resident One of Many Conservation Success Stories

November 1, 2010

PIERRE, S.D. - A four-footed South Dakota resident is a prime example of a wildlife conservation success story. Bruce Stein, associate director for Wildlife Conservation and Global Warming with the National Wildlife Federation, co-authored a new report published in the journal "Science" that looks at how well conservation programs are doing at bringing endangered species back from the brink. The black-footed ferret had nearly disappeared from the Plains states, he says, until conservationists stepped in back in the 1980s to re-introduce the species in South Dakota and a few other places.

"The efforts that have been undertaken by the states and the federal government out in the Dakotas are really viewed around the world as a great thing."

Stein points out that while success stories abound, plenty of emerging new threats to species also exist. In South Dakota, he says climate change poses an especially concerning threat to waterfowl that rely on prairie potholes.

"Some project that the wetlands that are so characteristic of the prairie potholes will begin drying up. That will have an effect on waterfowl populations - not just in the Dakotas, but across the continent."

According to the report, about one-fifth of the world's animals are facing possible extinction, and that list is growing each year. Stein says the report shows that threats to biodiversity are a major challenge, but things would be even worse if not for the conservation efforts that have been undertaken so far.

More information on the report is available at

Eric Mack, Public News Service - SD