Biologists release 30 more swift foxes in Montana

Fort Peck, Montana (AP) 11-09

Another 30 swift foxes are now roaming the plains of the Fort Peck Reservation in northeastern Montana.

Wildlife biologists recently released more of the fleet-footed predators as part of ongoing efforts to recover the species, once wiped out in Montana.

Les Bighorn, a wildlife technician for Fort Peck Fish and Game, says the species is also a central character in the creation story of the Assiniboine tribe and an important cultural icon.

Swift foxes only weigh about 5 pounds but can run up to 25 mph.

Biologists are reintroducing them to northeast Montana in hopes of rebuilding a link with populations in Wyoming and north of the reservation.

The foxes are now found in less than 40 percent of the their former range, and Montana officials estimate only about 500 are in the state.