United Airlines departs Louisville at 9 a.m. for a direct flight to Denver, Colorado. On board is myself, Kyle Shepherd, Public Relations Manager and documentarian for this trip and Conservation Center keeper and resident black-footed ferret (BFF) guru Guy Graves. We are on a flight to meet with Louisville Zoo Director John Walczak in Denver. With him are John Hughes and Julie Lyke with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Upon arrival to Colorado, the five of us will caravan 3 hours to Holly, Colorado for the actual black-footed ferret release. 30 black-footed ferrets will be released on two different sites.
This will be Zoo Director John Walczak’s first release. On the plane, Guy tells me he has only been to one other release. Guy, who has been with the Louisville Zoo’s BFF Center starting from day one — 25 years ago— released his first ferret into the remnant wild of the Walker Ranch in Colorado Springs just a year ago in Fall 2014. He released one ferret from a dozen being released that day. He would never admit it but everyone at the Louisville Zoo knows that it was Guy’s humble nature which allowed others around him to go to the various releases throughout the years and why in his 25 years he’s only released one ferret himself. I asked him what he was most looking forward to on this, his second trip. He says he’s looking forward to the moment when he opens the crate door of the sky kennels that transport these fierce little 1.5-2 pound critters.
In the next blog, I will report more exciting news directly from the release site.