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This project has been made possible through the dedicated efforts of the following people and their respective institutions. Revive & Restore and the Black-footed Ferret Recovery Implementation Team (BFFRIT) met for the first time at the National Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center (NBFFCC) in 2014. Since that initial meeting, the Revive & Restore genetic rescue project for this species has involved the expertise of several organizations, as well as numerous collaborators and advisors.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife,  plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information, visit and connect with us on social media.

Black-Footed Ferret Recovery Implementation Team (BFFRIT)
Today, the USFWS leads the BFFRIT, a consortium of state agencies, First Nations governments, Federal agencies, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (which oversees the BFF Species Survival Plan), private landowners, and nonprofit organizations that provide essential guidance and support for BFF recovery efforts. A world leader in captive management and recovery, their innovations are often emulated by other endangered species programs. The adoption of new technologies by the BFFRIT has historically signaled the readiness of such technologies for use with other species. Pete Gober is the Recovery Coordinator for the BFFRIT.

National Black-Footed Ferret Conservation Center (NBFFCC)
Operated by the USFWS, the NBFFCC is the primary breeding center for the BFFRIT. This operation has led to the breeding of the BFF and conditioning for wild release for over 30 years. It is home to 60% of the species’ captive population. Della Garelle and Robyn Bortner provided hands-on veterinary care for the clone, Elizabeth Ann.

Revive & Restore
Revive & Restore is the leading wildlife conservation organization promoting the incorporation of biotechnologies into standard conservation practice. The Sausalito, California nonprofit was formed in 2012 with the idea that 21st century biotechnology can and should be used to enhance genetic diversity, build disease resistance, and facilitate adaptation. Its mission is to enhance biodiversity through the genetic rescue of endangered and extinct species.

ViaGen Pets & Equine
ViaGen Pets and Equine is the worldwide leader in cloning the animals we love. For over 20 years, we have been committed to the health and well-being of every animal we work with. Our team includes leading scientists, and we believe that moving the promising and exciting area of animal genetic research forward will benefit all animals.

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance
The San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance is a nonprofit international conservation leader, committed to inspiring a passion for nature and working toward a world where all life thrives. The Alliance empowers people from around the globe to support their mission to conserve wildlife through innovation and partnerships. San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance supports cuttingedge conservation and brings the stories of their work back to the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Parkgiving millions of guests, in person and virtually, the opportunity to experience conservation in action.

Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute
The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute (NZCBI) leads the Smithsonian’s global effort to save species, better understand ecosystems and train future generations of conservationists. Its two campuses are home to some of the world’s most critically endangered species. Always free of charge, the Zoo’s 163-acre park in the heart of Washington, D.C., features 2,100 animals representing 400 species and is a popular destination for children and families. At the Conservation Biology Institute’s 3,200-acre campus in Virginia, breeding and veterinary research on 250 animals representing 20 species provide critical data for the management of animals in human care and valuable insights for conservation of wild populations. NZCBI’s more than 300 staff and scientists work in Washington, D.C., Virginia and with partners at field sites across the United States and in more than 30 countries to save wildlife, collaborate with communities and conserve native habitats. NZCBI is a long-standing accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Association of Zoos and Aquariums
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), founded in 1924, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal wellbeing, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and 12 other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your connection to helping animals all over the world.


The first Genomics Working Group meeting was held in 2014 and included (from left to right) Ryan Phelan (Revive & Restore), Seth Willey (USFWS), Oliver Ryder (San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, SDZWA), Colleen Lynch (Riverbanks Zoo and Garden), Pete Gober (USFWS, NBFFCC), Bob Wiese (SDZWA), Dean Biggins (US Geological Service, USGS), Stewart Brand (Revive & Restore), Ben Novak (Revive & Restore), Robyn Bortner (USFWS, NBFFCC), and Sarah Oyler-McCance (USGS).


Revive & Restore and the USFWS met for the first time at the NBFFCC in 2014. After that meeting, they formed the Genomics Working Group in coordination with the Black-footed ferret Species Survival Plan, which continues to set annual meetings to coordinate genetic rescue and genomic management efforts. Since those beginnings, the Genomics Working Group has added a considerable number of members who work and consult on many aspects of the species’ genomic management.

Current members include Steven Buskirk (University of Wyoming), Graham Etherington (Earlham Institute), Della Garelle (USFWS, NBFFCC), Diane Genereux (Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard), Pete Gober (USFWS, NBFFCC), Debbie Grossblat (Colorado State University), Klaus Koepfli (Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, SCBI), Travis Livieri (Prairie Wildlife Research), Colleen Lynch (Riverbanks Zoo and Garden), Paul Marinari (SCBI), Kim Massey (USFWS, NBFFCC), Ben Novak (Revive & Restore), Steve Olson (Association of Zoos & Aquariums), Ryan Phelan (Revive & Restore), Tonie Rocke (USGS),  Oliver Ryder (SDZWA), Rachel Santymire (Lincoln Park Zoo), Patricia Stevens (Formerly of USGS), Brad Swanson (Department of Biology, Central Michigan University), Bob Wiese (Formerly of SDZWA), Samantha Wisely (Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida).

Former participants included: Seth Willey (USFWS), Julie Lyke (USFWS, NBFFCC), Tom Maloney (formerly Revive & Restore), and Ken Morgan (Colorado Parks & Wildlife Department).


Klaus-Peter Koepfli, of the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation, now leads an expansive genomics research program for the BFFRIT Genomics Working group. This work builds upon the initial Black-footed ferret genomic study led and funded by Revive & Restore in 2014. Hundreds of genomes are now being sequenced to build genomic insight tools that can guide future management and genetic rescue decisions. Current partner institutions in this effort include the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation, George Mason University; Broad Institute; Earlham Institute, UK; Institute of Molecular & Cellular Biology, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia; the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium, UK; Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute; San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Institute for Conservation Research, and Revive & Restore.

Banner image of two Black-footed ferret kits, courtesy USFWS.