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The black-footed ferrets peep out of their hole at the National Black-Footed Ferret Conservation Center official opening Thursday October 13,2005. The animals were near extinction in 1986 with the last wild population numbering only 18. Over 5,000 have been breed in captivity since 1987 with over 2,000 being released back into the wild in 6 western states including Colorado. The Conservation Center is located on the prairie north of Wellngton. (GEORGE KOCHANIEC, JR./ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS) **

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