Travis Livieri, a biologist from Wellington, Colorado, received the Forest Service’s Region 2, Regional Partner of the Year Honor Award. Livieri won this prestigious award for his work with reintroduction of the threatened and endangered black-footed ferrets in Conata Basin, on the Wall Ranger District in South Dakota, according to a U.S. Forest Service news release from January 21, 2010.
For more than 15 years, Livieri has worked with the Forest Service and other partners to establish Conata Basin’s black-footed ferret population as one of the most successful endangered species reintroduction models in North America. Livieri has helped prepare more than 230 black-footed ferrets for other reintroduction sites.
“Travis’s dedication, hard work and selflessness to the overall recovery of the black-footed ferrets are to be commended,” said Jane Darnell, supervisor of the Nebraska National Forests and Grasslands. “He has consistently made personal sacrifices to ensure the Conata Basin population is adequately monitored and shares invaluable information with the Forest Service and all other partners.”
“Black-footed ferret recovery has been one of the great success stories in endangered species recovery, and, while we have made tremendous progress, our work is not finished yet,” Livieri said. “I believe that in my lifetime we will successfully restore enough black-footed ferrets to remove them from the endangered species list.”
Partners Livieri regularly coordinates with include the Forest Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, National Park Service, national grassland organizations and volunteers.
Livieri serves as the Chair of the Black-Footed Ferret Recovery Implementation Team, Conservation Subcommittee, and has been the primary coordinator for the annual ferret census since 2005. Federal agencies rely on his expertise and knowledge for ferret translocation work.
Livieri’s work has not gone unnoticed, with interviews done by National Geographic, PBS, and state and local media.
“We use the excellent data that Travis collects at the Nebraska National Forest and Grasslands to guide management decisions,” said Alan Anderson, acting district ranger for the Wall Ranger District. “This data was especially valuable when plague surfaced in Conata Basin in 2008. The data and his assistance helped us implement a response that resulted in saving more than two-thirds of the ferret population.”
Livieri is the Executive Director of the Prairie Wildlife Research organization, a nonprofit he founded in 2001 that is dedicated to the preservation of prairie species, especially the endangered black-footed ferret.