News & Politics

Potpie Is Leaving, and the Black-Footed Ferret Cam Will Soon Go Dark

The mama ferret will soon be reintroduced into the wild.

Thanks for everything, Potpie. Photograph courtesy Smithsonian's National Zoo.

Potpie is leaving us. The prolific mother of black-footed ferrets is on the path to being introduced into the wild: She’ll join the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s pre-conditioning program at Colorado’s National Black-Footed Ferret Conservation Center, Jennifer Zoon, a spokesperson for Smithsonian’s National Zoo, tells Washingtonian. Then, it’s into unknown horizons in the prairies for Potpie.

Potpie’s most recent kits, named Aster, Aspen, and Swifty in a contest, will also move from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia, into breeding facilities as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan for black-footed ferrets. That means no more black-footed ferret cam after Tuesday, the Zoo says.

The species, the only ferret native to North America, was once thought to be extinct. But in 1981 a Wyoming farm dog named Shep won a fight with what officials later identified as a black-footed ferret and began a breeding program that has successfully reintroduced them into parts of their historic habitat.

Watch the ferrets while you can. Fortunately, the zoo has preserved some of the highlights of their time with us.

 

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.