The mission of Audubon of Kansas includes promoting stewardship of ecosystems in Kansas and the heartland with emphasis on conservation of birds, wildlife, prairies, and other habitats.

To fulfill this mission, AOK focuses on conservation of the following imperiled, threatened or endangered, non-game and rare species:

  • Black-footed Ferrets
  • Black-tailed Prairie Dogs
  • Lesser and Greater Prairie Chickens
  • Ferruginous Hawks and other Birds-of-Prey
  • Burrowing Owls
  • Swift Foxes
  • Northern Bob-white Quail
  • Whooping Cranes
  • Pollinators

Audubon of Kansas also encourages conservation of other wildlife including migratory birds, grouse, grassland mammals such as bison, wildcats, and more.

For more information on our wildlife conservation initiatives and to learn more about specific wildlife, please see our “Prairie Wings” magazine.

The Black-footed Ferret is the most endangered mammal in North America.

Although, 1) the Kansas court system upheld the right of the USFWS to introduce and protect this endangered species, and the fact that the Endangered Species Act takes precedence over the 1901 era prairie dog eradication statutes, 2) the hosting landowners have signed a long-term Safe Harbor Agreement with the USFWS, 3) and three landowner families have continued to support recovery of BFFs on their property, the work to secure recovery of the species in Kansas, or with Kansas as a vital part of the species recovery plan (see below) is far from achieved.

Delisting Criteria: Delisting criteria are new since the 1988 Recovery Plan. Delisting may occur when the following recovery criteria are met.

  • Establish free-ranging black-footed ferrets totaling at least 3,000 breeding adults, in 30 or more populations, with at least one population in each of at least 9 of 12 States within the historical range of the species, with no fewer than 30 breeding adults in any population, and at least 10 populations with 100 or more breeding adults, and at least 5 populations within colonies of Gunnison’s or white-tailed prairie dogs.

In the central strip of states in the Great Plains, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and North Dakota do not have even one re-introduction site. Thus, we have a long way to go to establish recovery of the species sufficient to result in delisting, and at present we cannot even suggest that there is a sustainable population with 30 breeding pairs in Kansas.

AOK Objectives:

  • Work to provide organizational, public and policy (at the state and national level) support for the BFF reintroduction/recovery effort on the Haverfield/Barnhardt/Blank Ranch Complex.
  • Work to seek state and NRCS approval for EQIP funding for the BFF landowner incentive initiative that will enhance acceptance of BFF reintroduction on private land, especially among landowners who have potential to share substantial acreages of their land with prairie dogs, and increase the financial feasibility for those who do.
  • Work to find and support opportunities for eventual establishment of other BFF reintroduction sites in Kansas and throughout the central Great Plains.
  • Stay engaged in national efforts to recover BFFs, including involvement in the BFF Recovery Implementation Team Executive Committee.