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Celebrating The 40th Anniversary Of The Endangered Species Act (PHOTO)

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WELLINGTON, CO - Oct. 29: There are 48 outdoor pre-conditioning pens that house some ferrets. Each pen is 40'x40' and the animals stay in the pens a minimum of 30 days and must kill at least two prairie dogs on their own in that time frame. The U.S government through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is breeding the black-footed ferret in captivity in northern Colorado. Restoring the ferrets, an endangered species, to the United State prairies is considered a key step in to reviving dying ecosy | Kathryn Scott Osler via Getty Images

Story by Justin Breen, courtesy of DNAinfo Chicago

LINCOLN PARK — Rachel Santymire sees the direct impact of the Endangered Species Act every day at work.

Santymire, who is director of the Lincoln Park Zoo's Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology, monitors the population of one of North America's rarest mammals: the black-footed ferret.

The Endangered Species Act, which President Richard Nixon signed into law 40 years ago Saturday, was created to protect animals and plants on the verge of extinction — and the habitat on which they lived.

"It's one of the best things we've done for our environment," Santymire said. "We have to preserve the habitat to save the species."

Read the full story at DNAinfo Chicago.

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