“I hate to say this, but I think there are quite a few species that are going to need our help,” says Kimberly Fraser, with the USFWS Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center in Colorado. The center’s goal, she says, is to put themselves out of business by having ferrets out on the landscape, living and dying without human intervention. USFWS envisions a population of 3,000 breeding adult ferrets in dozens of colonies across their historic range. Fraser estimates, at best, 500 are alive in the wild now. The number had reached nearly 1,000 by the end of the 2000s, but has since drifted backward.