Black-footed ferrets return to where they held out in wild

Long gone from these parts, black-footed ferrets still appear on Meeteetse's town logo, in a bronze sculpture downtown and even on coffee mugs from a downtown restaurant, remembered for when the nocturnal weasels made their last stand in the nearby sagebrush hills.

They're set to make a triumphant return.

On Tuesday, following a bit of ferret carnival at a school in Meeteetse, biologists plan to release 35 black-footed ferrets raised in captivity on two local ranches. The release will complete the circle of a story that began in 1981, when a ranch dog named Shep brought home a dead black-footed ferret and let the world know the species wasn't extinct after all.