WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — A new habitat opening at the Sedgwick County Zoo will showcase a once-thought-extinct species.

The Rogers Family Ferret Habitat, which will bring black-footed ferrets to the zoo, opens Wednesday, Dec. 14. The species of ferret was thought to be extinct until 1981 when a population was discovered in Wyoming.

A disease nearly wiped out that population which saw its numbers drop to just 18 by 1987. Thanks to intervention, the species was saved and has started to be reintroduced into the wild.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reintroduced around 300 captive-bred black-footed ferrets in Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Kansas, New Mexico, Canada, and Mexico. The zoo has been assisting in the recovery program, including participating in annual surveys and providing funding for supplies.

The exhibit officially opens with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 3 p.m. Wednesday. Admission to the zoo will be just $2 that day.

Map to the black-footed ferret exhibit (Courtesy: Sedgwick County Zoo)

For more information, visit the Sedgwick County Zoo website.